The Crucial and Impressive Work of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative

old-young“America faces an enormous challenge in figuring out how to address and pay for the long-term needs of aging Baby Boomers and the generations that will follow them. We need to imagine ways to shift from a more welfare-based financing system to a primarily insurance-based system that meets the needs of individuals and their caregivers. We need to have an honest discussion of the obligations we have to each other.”Stuart Butler Senior Fellow The Brookings Institution & member of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative

What is the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative?

The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative is one initiative of the non-profit Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. The Collaborative has brought together national experts and stakeholders who cross ideological divides with a common goal: to improve the way Americans pay and prepare for the non-medical care needed by our frail elders and people living with disabilities. Today, 10-12 million adults require supports to help them maintain the best possible quality of life, a number that is expected to double by 2030.

“It doesn’t matter whether your politics are right, left or center, paying for long term care for our loved ones is a difficult challenge that nearly all American families are facing or will face in the coming years. This shared challenge, a desire to find real solutions, and a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue is the common ground on which our Collaborative stands.”

Jennie Chin Hansen Former CEO American Geriatrics Society & member of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative

Why is the Collaborative’s work so important?

As our nation’s 78 million baby boomers age, demographic trends show declining availability of family caregivers and increasing reliance on paid care, either at home or in residential facilities. The out-of-pocket costs of such assistance can be catastrophic, and few people have the necessary resources, through savings or private long-term care insurance, to meet this need.

What specific long- term care services are needed?

Long-term Supports and Services provide for non-medical assistance, such as food preparation, personal hygiene, assistive devices and transportation, as well as help with activities of daily living such as bathing and eating.

Can the Challenges of providing and paying for long-term care really be overcome?

According to Howard Gleckman member of the collaborative & senior fellow of the Urban Institute, “Washington conventional wisdom says it is impossible to find a policy solution to the challenges of long-term care financing. The Collaborative showed the CW is wrong: People from across the political spectrum with broadly diverse interests did find a workable, consensus resolution to this important problem.”

What was proposed

On February 22, 2016, the Collaborative released its final recommendations for providing effective and efficient long-term care delivery and financing.  The Collaborative expects these recommendations to inform legislative as well as organizational and private initiatives, and include efforts to expand public awareness and develop momentum for change.

The goals:

Clear private and public roles for long-term care financing.

A new universal catastrophic long-term care insurance program. This would shift today’s welfare-based system to an insurance model.

Redefining Medicaid Long-Term Supports and Services to empower greater autonomy and choice in services and settings.

Encouraging private long-term care insurance initiatives to lower cost and increase enrollment.

Increasing retirement savings and improving public education on long-term care costs and needs.

“In an era characterized by sharp partisan differences in health care, the work of the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative stands out as a notable exception. The Collaborative is taking on the next “big challenge in health care”—designing a sustainable and affordable system of long term care.”

Gail Wilensky Senior Fellow Project HOPE


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