As more Americans become acutely aware of the challenges they may face as they get older, they are starting to pay more attention to long-term care. This can encapsulate many options, including in home care, which is the preferred option for more seniors today. The cost of long-term care, though, continues to increase, especially in light of an aging population (supply and demand factors being just one component).
According to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 56 percent of older Americans want Medicare to cover long-term care costs. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid Services will only provide coverage for a specific length of time, or short-term care.
According to Associated Press journalist Emily Swanson in the article, Poll: Older Americans want Medicare-covered long-term care, published by the Charlotte Observer:
“According to the poll, 56 percent of Americans age 40 and over think Medicare should have a major role in paying for ongoing living assistance, up from 39 percent who said so in 2013. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans now think Medicare should bear a large part of the burden.
The poll has other signs of growing support for government involvement in providing long-term care. Seventy percent of older Americans say they favor a government-administered long-term care insurance program, up from 53 percent who said so a year ago. Most also favor tax policies to encourage long-term care planning, including tax breaks to encourage saving for long-term care and the ability to use nontaxable accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs to pay for long-term care insurance premiums. Most also favor tax breaks for people who provide care to family members and employers who give paid family leave to workers.”
The Baby Boomer generation -those men and women born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s- are retiring and that means more people may be turning to short and long-term care options and as the federal government has been cutting reimbursement rates for in home care support and more state budgets are being pushed to their limits, the burden for long-term care when needed is falling squarely on the men and women who need it. That is leading to many using up their savings accounts and being forced into reverse mortgages or selling off assets just to cover the costs.
As more Americans age and face increased financial burdens for long-term care, it’s likely this trend will continue.
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