Long-Term Care Insurance Giant Genworth Takes Another Charge, Plans to Go Private

Genworth Financial, the largest seller of long-term care (LTC) insurance policies, has agreed to be acquired by a privately-held Chinese investment firm. At the same time, it announced it will reserve an additional $400 million to $450 million against future long-term care claims.

The twin Oct 23 announcements are further indication of just how brutal the long-term care insurance business has become. Struggling with larger-than-expected claims and continued low interest rates that have slashed investment earnings, scores of carriers have abandoned the market in recent years, and those that remained have sharply raised premiums on existing policies and tightened underwriting standards and raised prices on new ones. As a result, sales have plummeted. Sales of individual stand-alone policies plunged from a peak of about 750,000 in 2002 to only about 130,000 in 2014.

Long-Term Care Is Increasingly Becoming Managed Care At Home

Medicaid long-term care is rapidly changing, and some of those trends may eventually remake the way all of us receive personal assistance as we age or become disabled.

Nearly half of all states are now providing Medicaid long-term care benefits through managed care, and 13 states are requiring older adults to receive care that way. At the same time, four out of five states are expanding home care benefits through Medicaid and 16 are even beginning to provide housing services with their Medicaid dollars. These are just a few of the key findings in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest annual survey of state Medicaid programs.

Five Ways Family Caregivers Can Care For Themselves

I helped care for my dad, who was dying of heart disease, for about 18 months. I was not even his primary caregiver. My mother and a home health aide took care of most if his-day-to-day needs. Yet, after he died, I was exhausted–worn out like I had never been before.

Caring for an aging parent can be among the most rewarding things you do in your life. But it can also be physical and emotionally demanding. Family members caring for relatives are more likely to be hospitalized than people like them who are not caregivers. They are more likely to suffer from depression and physical injuries (from, for example, lifting a loved one).  Caregiving spouses over age 65 are even more likely to die prematurely than those who are not caregivers.

How One Man Helped Build A Better Medicaid Long-Term Care Program

My friend Dan Timmel died last week. You probably didn’t know him. But if you are a frail older adult or a younger person with disabilities who is a Medicaid recipient, a family member of someone on Medicaid, or a taxpayer, you owe Dan a great debt.

Dan was a senior career official on the Medicaid side of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal office that oversees both programs. He had a simple vision: People who receive long-term supports and services from Medicaid should get the best and most appropriate care possible. And he worked relentlessly to make that happen.

What You Should Know About The Government’s New Nursing Home Rules

For the first time in 25 years the federal government has completed a comprehensive revision of the way it regulates nursing homes, where 1 million older adults and younger people with disabilities reside.

The new regulations—all 700 pages worth—govern everything from staffing and dispute resolution to enhancing the role of residents and families in designing care. They’ll take effect in stages over the next three years. And not surprisingly, both consumer groups and industry officials have already begun raising objections to some of the new rules.

How Can You Help Older Adults Age At Home? Ask What They Need, Then Help Them

Here’s an idea: If you want to know how to help frail older adults age at home, start by asking them what’s important. Then, provide the assistance they need to help them reach their goals. Their challenges, and the solutions to them, are usually pretty straightforward—a grab bar in the shower to prevent falls, good nutrition and medication management, or a bit of physical or occupational therapy to relearn how to safely perform daily tasks. Now, a new study shows that such a program can dramatically improve people’s ability to function at home at a relatively low cost.

Donald Trump’s Plan to Support Family Caregivers

Early in the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton proposed a package of ideas aimed at helping adult children who care for aging parents and other relatives. Yesterday, Donald Trump embraced  a similar idea. Family caregiving, it seems, is going mainstream.

It is striking that both Clinton and Trump are talking about an issue that until now has flown far below the political radar.  Best I can tell, this is the first time any major party candidate for president, let alone both, has proposed ways to help caregivers.

Getting Real About An Alzheimer’s Cure

For decades, people have been hoping for the magic bullet that will prevent, cure, or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias. Yet, despite small hints of progress– and billions of dollars in research–there is no drug, and no app or game, that can successfully treat these diseases.

This year, results of these efforts have been decidedly mixed. In the past month, the clinical trial of one highly-touted anti-Alzheimer’s drug failed, the Food & Drug Administration put research on two others on a fast-track review process, and the Federal Trade Commission prepared to send out company-funded rebates to customers who had been duped by a popular brain-training product aimed in part at slowing cognitive decline.

The Staggering Cost of Long-Term Care and Medical Care in Old Age

A typical 65-year-old couple will need to save nearly $400,000 to pay for out-of-pocket medical care and long-term care in old age, according to new estimates by the Fidelity Benefits Consulting. That is $60,000 more than a typical couple’s entire savings at retirement, including equity in their home.

Fidelity estimated an older couple will need to put away an average of $260,000 (in today’s dollars) for their out-of-pocket medical costs, even if they have Medicare. And they’d need to save an additional $130,000 to insure themselves against the need for long-term supports and services, in nursing homes or at home. It is important to think about the two costs together since we often think about only one or the other.

A Judge Orders Medicare To Clarify When It Will Pay For Rehab and Skilled Nursing

Imagine your mom has a stroke. Once she is stabilized, she is sent to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. Then she goes home and gets some home health care and additional physical therapy. Medicare may pay, but for how long?

For many years, that was decided by the “improvement standard.” In other words, as long as this care helped mom become more mobile or improve her speech, Medicare would pay at least some of the cost (up to a maximum of 100 days per spell of illness).  But once she stopped getting better, Medicare would stop paying.