IQ expert Dr. Marion Somers: CLASS Act will provide substantial help with long-term care costs
Q: The federal health care reform law contains a lot of stuff. Is there anything in there about long-term care insurance?
A: President Obama has signed into law a comprehensive health care reform measure that contains a voluntary, government-run, long-term care insurance program available through employers. It’s known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. This program is not designed to pay the entire cost of long-term care, but will provide substantial help.
|Dr. Marion Somers:
In the Long Term
|Dr. Marion Somers is the author of “Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One.”|
Many of the details regarding the CLASS program haven’t been defined but will be developed through government regulations.
The CLASS Act is intended to help millions of Americans who need long-term care just to get by – to eat, bathe or get dressed – but face serious financial difficulty in obtaining it. Neither private health insurance nor Medicare covers basic long-term services and support, although Medicare does cover care in a skilled nursing center for up to 100 days following a hospitalization.
Private long-term care insurance is available in the individual health insurance market, but premiums and benefits must be negotiated. With nursing home costs averaging more than $75,000 a year and home care averaging about $20 an hour, many families deplete their resources and are forced to turn to Medicaid to pay for long-term care. These difficulties are not limited to seniors; 40 percent of those who need long-term care are people who are not elderly but have serious disabling conditions.
Right now, there’s an abundance of issues to be sorted out regarding health care reform — including the CLASS Act — and what will go forward and what will fall by the wayside has yet to be determined. We are in “wait and see” mode.
Among the many issues for Democrats and Republicans to hash out concerning the health care reform law are malpractice reform and the purchase of health insurance across state lines. The fate of long-term care insurance, by the time all of this is sorted out, is anyone’s guess.
Dr. Marion Somers, Ph.D., has more than 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager and caregiver, and as an author, speaker and teacher regarding elder care and other elder issues. With the senior generation living longer than ever before, Dr. Marion believes we are on the verge of an “elder care tsunami.” After decades of working directly with seniors and their caregivers, Dr. Marion launched a public effort to provide practical tools, solutions and advice to those struggling with caring for our aging population. She is the author of “Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One” and creator of two iPhone apps: Elder411 and Elder911.
For more information, visit www.drmarion.com.
If you have a long-term care insurance question for Dr. Marion Somers, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.