Aug 19, 2013

Long-Term Care Commission meets, recommendations due end of September

The Federal Commission on Long-Term Care held its first meeting at the end of June. It has a scant three months to wrap up business. By the end of September, the panel must submit recommendations on how to finance long-term care services for seniors and the disabled. There are six Republicans and nine Democrats on the commission. Dr. Bruce Chernof heads the group.

Given the recent history of animus between the two political parties, it's little wonder that many in Washington are skeptical about the group's chances of success. I know one thing: something must be done. As a Florida elder law attorney, I meet daily with families in agony over how to finance care for their elderly parent, spouse or other loved one. 

Right now, the enormous expense of long-term care is threatening Americans' savings and security. The Medicaid long-term care program, which covers the expense for most people receiving long-term custodial custodial care in nursing homes, cannot keep up with the demand from our aging population. At the same time, long-term care insurance has become more expensive and difficult to obtain.

According to a report submitted to the commission by the AARP, this bad situation is only going to get exponentially worse. Blame demographics: The population bulge that is the Baby Boomers provide much of the family care that keeps elderly parents out of nursing homes. However, as the Boomers age and themselves need long-term care, there will be fewer members in the next generation to serve as family caregivers. The AARP 's chart illustration the problem:

You can read the original AARP report here.

The commission will probably not be the final word or have all the solutions. But even if it is just the first step in the long-overdue national discussion about this serious issue, it will have accomplished a great deal.

If you are concerned about long-term care costs, we can advise you about the new alternatives to traditional long-term care policies. Traditional long-term care policies require an annual premium and can have their premiums raised; moreover, if you do not file a claim all of the premiums are lost to the insurance company. There are newer types of policies available that cannot raise the premium, and guarantee the return of most of your premium, and in some cases even more if you do not use your coverage. Alternatively, our Florida elder law attorneys can assist in certain cases in planning for Medicaid and/or Veterans benefits for long-term care costs. Contact us for advice.

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