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REPORT: U.S. Would Benefit from Universal LTC Insurance

February 29, 2016

In their final report, a group of prominent long-term care stakeholders proposes the creation of a “universal catastrophic insurance system” to help older Americans bear the costs of long-term care.

The recommendation is one of several made in the final report of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative (LTCFC), a bipartisan group convened in 2012 to devise ways of improving long-term care in the U.S.

The proposed benefit, the group writes, would represent a huge upgrade over the current way many Americans with significant long-term care needs pay for services: by spending down their savings until they qualify for Medicaid.

“Our primary goal was to develop a system that could finance care where and when people need it,” writes Urban Institute senior fellow and LTCFC member Howard Gleckman in Forbes.

“It would be built around robust home and community supports and be better integrated with medical care, give those who need personal assistance maximum autonomy and choice, and support both family and paid caregivers who are the bedrock of the care system,” Gleckman continues.

LeadingAge has also recently suggested that a universal long-term care insurance program is the best way to replace the current system, which it describes as “unsustainable, irrational, and unfair for individuals and families.”

Better Wages and Training for Direct Care Workers

Elsewhere in its report, the LTCFC recommends that the U.S. work to better support the paid caregiving workforce as a means of improving the country’s long-term care system as a whole.

“We support expanding competency-based training and opportunities for promotion for direct care workers,” the report says, additionally noting that states should promote advanced roles for caregivers that would allow them to “work to the top of their skills.”

“Better training and higher pay will result in better care,” the final report says, echoing the findings of a pair of LTCFC reports published last summer.

Earlier this month, a separate bipartisan organization, the Bipartisan Policy Center, similarly pushed for improving long-term care by investing in the paid caregiving workforce.

— by Matthew Ozga

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