Middle-Age Adults and Frail Seniors Would Pay More For Medical and Long-Term Care Under The Senate Health Plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health care plan would substantially increase costs for people age 50-64 who buy insurance in the individual market and for the frail elderly and younger people with disabilities who receive Medicaid long-term care benefits.  In some ways, the Senate plan would be marginally better than the House-passed health bill. In others, it would be much worse.  But in almost all respects it would fall far short of current law.

Let’s start with individual insurance for middle-aged consumers who are not yet 65 and eligible for Medicare. The McConnell plan, which is now being revised, would make several important changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace subsidies, many of which would directly affect those aged 50-64.

Proposed Federal Medicaid Caps Will Hurt Seniors. Here’s Why.

The Senate’s version of the House-passed American Health Care Act will almost certainly include a fundamental change in the way the federal government contributes to Medicaid. Over time, that new structure would result in deep cuts in the federal contribution to Medicaid and ultimately reduce long-term care benefits for frail older adults as well as younger people with disabilities. These changes may give states important new flexibility in how they provide these supports and services. But they may also mean that states will slow or even reverse their shift toward delivering assistance in community settings and revert to providing care in nursing homes.

If You Need Long-Term Care, It Matters Where You Live

If you or a loved one needs long-term care, where you live matters…a lot. A new report by AARP shows wide variation in the quality of supports and services among states—whether delivered at home or in a nursing facility. While it found important improvements across states, it also identified significant shortcomings, even in the highest-rated states.

The best states to get care: Washington, Minnesota, Vermont, Oregon, and Alaska. Washington and Minnesota have been consistent leaders in the AARP reports, which began in 2011. The worst states: Tennessee, Mississippi,   Alabama, Kentucky, and Indiana.  However, Tennessee, along with New York, showed the greatest improvement since AARP’s last report in 2014.

How Long-Term Care Helped Wreck British PM Theresa May’s Election Campaign

You probably know by now that last week’s snap election was a disaster for UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party. But you may not know that one issue that cost the Tories their strong parliamentary majority was a proposal that came to be known as the “dementia tax.”  It is a story that has some important lessons for the US.

In the run-up to the election, May proposed major changes in the way the UK provides long-term care.  The Tory manifesto’s aim was to make public support for services more broadly available to low-income people and provide more equal assistance to those living at home and in residential care. But that was not how it played to voters. Hence: the dementia tax.

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Trump Backs Paid Leave for New Parents, But Ignores Those Caring For The Elderly

The Trump Administration believes that caring for babies is so important that employers should give their parents up to six weeks of paid leave. It apparently doesn’t believe it is as important, or as disruptive to work life, to care for aging parents or other relatives in need of personal assistance.

That, at least, is the message it is sending in Trump’s 2018 budget. In a fiscal plan otherwise filled with cuts to government-funded social supports, the president proposed allowing states to use their unemployment insurance systems to fund paid family leave.  The US is the only developed country in the world without a paid leave program.

Americans Remain Baffled By Long-Term Care Financing, But Would Like A Medicare Benefit.

Americans age 40 and older continued to be flummoxed by the challenges of long-term care financing, but increasingly believe that Medicare ought to provide such supports and services. According to a new poll by the Associated Press-University of Chicago NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (AP-NORC), support for a Medicare long-term care benefit has grown significantly over the past five years. And for the first time since the survey began, a majority of Republicans favor Medicare long-term care.

Trump’s Budget For Seniors: Bad, But It Could Have Been Worse

The best that can be said about President Trump’s 2018 budget and older adults: It could have been worse.

In a fiscal plan focused on historic domestic spending cuts, programs for older adults were hit by substantial reductions, though not slashed as deeply as other domestic programs.

Medicare was largely untouched. So was Social Security for seniors, although Trump would tighten eligibility and reduce some benefits in the Social Security disability program. Spending for most senior services programs was frozen for yet another year while subsidies for low-income senior housing were increased.

The House Health Bill: Bad For Seniors, Bad For Long-Term Care Insurance

The House-passed health bill could further batter the already-beaten down market for long-term care insurance. And drive even more middle income seniors into impoverishment and onto Medicaid long-term care.

Here’s why:  The House bill, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would significantly raise health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical costs for buyers aged 50-64. And that is exactly the age at which people think about buying long-term care (LTC) insurance. While only about 9 percent of buyers are under 50, two-thirds are age 50-64, according to an industry survey.

Seniors Had A Terrible Week In Washington. It Could Get Worse

Congress and President Trump took dead aim at seniors and younger people with disabilities this week. First, Congress voted to cut or freeze funding for key federal senior service programs. Then the House passed its bill to replace the Affordable Care Act—a measure that would make health insurance unaffordable for many people aged 50-64, allow insurance companies to sell policies that exclude important benefits for  people with chronic conditions, and slash Medicaid spending for those who need long-term supports and services.

Fix The Affordable Care Act By Letting People 55-64 Buy Into Medicare

Congressional Republicans seem once again stymied in their efforts to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” So here is a partial solution that can be a winner for both political parties, the insurance industry, and consumers: Allow people 55-64 to buy into Medicare. And enhance the deal by letting Medicare Advantage plans offer some long-term supports and services, such as personal care, as part of their benefit package.

The idea of a Medicare buy-in has been around for years. It was proposed by President Bill Clinton and endorsed again in the recent presidential campaign by Hillary Clinton. About now, you are thinking that the Clinton pedigree is a death sentence in a Republican-controlled government.