The Commission on Long-Term Care has formally released its Final Report to Congress in which it endorsed a package of 28 recommendations “for addressing our nation’s challenges with delivering and financing long-term care services and supports (LTSS).” Today it is also available from GPO.
Why Long Term Care is an Issue
With U.S. Baby Boomers entering retirement age, every day more than 10,000 Americans reach the age of 65. In five years, over 50% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50. As Americans live longer, more of us will need long-term care either with at-home services or nursing homes or other extended care facilities. The estimate is that over 12 million Americans need LTSS today, and 27 million will need long-term care by 2050 (see image from the Report below).
Finding and paying for quality long-term care is a growing challenge for most Americans, as the Commission’s report clearly demonstrates, particularly for frail older adults or people with disabilities and middle class families who do not qualify today for Government assistance like Medicaid. Likewise it is a concern for local, state and Federal lawmakers, since the report says that many people lack the necessary savings to pay for the high cost of this care along with regular health care costs, and that Medicare and Medicaid alone cannot cover the growing needs. (See our blog post Everything You Should Know About The Health Care Law for information about the new Affordable Care Act.)
How expensive is long-term care today? The latest report from Genworth Financial estimates that middle class families would have to pay on average $18 per hour for homemaker services, $19 an hour for home healthcare aides, $3,405 a month for assisted living facilities, and around $230 a day for a room in a private nursing home. The Commission’s report calculates that 25% of today’s 65 year-olds can expect to pay from $10,000 to over $100,000 or more on long-term care services in the future! (See image below).
The Commission on Long-Term Care was established under Section 643 of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240), signed into law January 2, 2013, to be comprised of fifteen commissioners. Three members each were appointed by the President of the United States, the majority leader of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
The statute directs the Commission to:
“…develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for individuals in need of such services and supports, including elderly individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living, and individuals desiring to plan for future long-term care needs.”
The statute further directed the Commission within 6 months of the appointment of Commissioners (by September 12, 2013) to:
“…vote on a comprehensive and detailed report based on the long-term care plan… [described above]… that contains any recommendations or proposals for legislative or administrative action as the Commission deems appropriate, including proposed legislative language to carry out the recommendations or proposals.”
What’s in the Report?
In the opening letter of the report addressed to the President and Congressional leaders, the Commissioners broadly explain the Report’s contents:
“Working on a bipartisan basis, the Commission adopted 28 specific public policy recommendations in service delivery, workforce, and financing that set a strong path forward for transforming systems of care to best meet people’s needs while appreciating today’s fiscal realities.”
Among the 28 measures in the report, the recommendations included:
- Expanding use of insurance policies that combine life insurance and annuities with long-term care insurance.
- Using a Partnership for Long-Term Care in which arrangements are made between state and private insurers to enable long-term care insurance policyholders to retain assets equal to the amount of benefits paid under their policy and still qualify for Medicaid.
- Increasing education efforts to enhance public knowledge about long-term care options, especially given “the limitations of Medicare and Medicaid in funding [long-term care services]”
- Recognizing caregivers as members of “care teams,” including information about caregivers in patient records, assessing caregivers’ need for support, and making services like respite care more widely available.
With five dissenting members, the Commission explains that it included “two approaches” in its Final Report about how to finance a long-term care system (LTSS) in the United States. To find out more, you should read this timely and important report.
How can you obtain a copy of this Long-Term Care report?
1) Buy a printed copy
- Shop our Online Bookstore website: You may purchase a copy of this report online 24/7 on the U.S. Government Bookstore site.
- Visit our Retail Store: Printed copies of this report may also be purchased from GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401. Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays.
2) View or download a PDF from GPO’s official Federal documents database, FDsys:
About the Author: Michele Bartram is Promotions & eCommerce Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division and Government Book Talk Editor.