The Commission on Long-Term Care held its first meeting late last month on Capitol Hill. The panel is faced with a three-month deadline to produce a report that offers Congress recommendations on how to finance long-term care services, such as Medicare and Medicaid, for seniors and disabled Americans.
Congress established the panel as part of the Jan. 2 fiscal cliff deal. It took three months for congressional leaders and President Barack Obama to appoint the commission’s 15 members. The group is sharply divided politically with nine members appointed by Democrats and six by Republicans. Under the law, the panel’s recommendations are due to Congress six months after its members are appointed. But nearly three months passed before the commission finally convened.
At the initial meeting, statistical experts explained how the nation's growing population of seniors will become more dependent on long-term care services. Among them was Dr. Bruce Chernof, the commission’s chairman who also heads the SCAN Foundation, a research organization that focuses on elder care. According to Chernof, "We know that 70 percent of people over the age 65 will need some form of long-term services and support." The rising cost of those services threatens to deplete individuals' savings and add to the nation's budget problems because of the expenses borne by Medicare and Medicaid.
Anne Tumlinson, senior vice president of the research firm Avalere Health, estimated that total number of people getting long-term care will be 16.5 million in 2050, a 70 percent increase from today’s numbers.
Medicare, the health care program for the elderly and disabled, does not cover long-term care whatsoever. Medicaid is the federal-state program that covers more than 60 percent of the people living in nursing homes.
Using long-term care insurance to pay expenses is not an option for many Americans, as premiums rise and companies that can’t make a profit leave the market.“We have a very short time line,” said Chernof. “There are a lot of things we would have liked to do as a commission, but we will be done by the end of September.”
We here at the Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. believe that with the rising costs and growing need for long-term care, Medicaid Asset Protection Planning is one of the best ways to provide for your future long-term care needs. Call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a free consultation. We can meet with you, access your financial situation and determine strategies for your long-term care plan.