Report has 3 recommendations for LTSS financing

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BPC Health Policy Director Katherine Hayes speaks at a July 11 event unveiling a new report.
BPC Health Policy Director Katherine Hayes speaks at a July 11 event unveiling a new report.

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center offers three recommendations to help individuals afford long-term services and supports as they age, in turn helping aging services providers.

“For the past 25 years, policymakers have failed to reach consensus on a sustainable means of financing and delivering LTSS,” BPC Health Policy Director Katherine Hayes said in a statement. “We hope our recommendations will offer a path forward and help to start the conversation on a comprehensive strategy that will help families and individuals.”

Sixty-eight percent of average lifetime costs for home- and community-based or assisted living services for people turning 65 today will be paid for out of pocket, with an additional 19% covered by Medicaid, according to calculations shared in the report.

To help ensure that the needs of older adults are met, the authors suggest, Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans could offer an affordable LTSS benefit — with monthly premiums of $35 to $40 per member — for older adults who are not eligible for Medicaid.

The report also recommends permitting taxable but penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement savings accounts such as a 401(k) to purchase private long-term care insurance.

A third suggestion they make is that Medicare Advantage plans and other Medicare provider organizations be allowed the flexibility to offer respite care to high-need, high-cost Medicare beneficiaries. The benefit would be available to people who have three or more chronic conditions and functional or cognitive impairment and are part of a person- and family-centered care plan.

The new report builds on one issued in February 2016 by the center. The initiative is supported by a grant from the SCAN Foundation.

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