Could Universal Long-Term Care Insurance Be the Solution to Increasing Costs?

February 23, 2016

As the population ages, some experts are calling on the need for a universal catastrophic insurance program to battle increasing long-term care costs.

The Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, a bipartisan policy group that brings together national experts and stakeholders, is the latest organization to suggest a universal program similar to Medicare as a possible solution to this financial crisis.
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Howard Gleckman, one of the collaborative’s founders, told USA Today that "the only thing that's left is a universal program." He argues that a volunteer program is creating adverse selection, which is affecting the costs of plans purchased on Affordable Care Act exchanges because there is no balance between healthy people and people with more health care needs.

According to the USA Today article, half of all seniors will need around 2 years worth of intensive care at the end of their lives, costing on average $140,000. Those costs increase to $250,000 for 15% of this population.

A plan recommended by the Bipartisan Policy Center earlier this month takes a more modest approach to long-term care costs, suggesting “linking long-term care insurance to retirement benefits; limited long-term care benefits through Medigap and Medicare Advantage, a Medicare respite benefit for unpaid caregivers; and tax credits for paid long-term services,” according to the article.—Kelsey Moroz

Reference: O’Donnell J. Bipartisan group calls for universal long-term care insurance plans. USA Today. February 22, 2016.