Federal Government Makes Push to Educate Public on Long-Term Care

It is no secret that the federal budget (and many state budgets) are stretched thin as a result of rising healthcare costs. Medicare and Medicaid obligations make up a significant piece of the pie which has grown in recent years. In fact, the push to expand public healthcare options as part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was actually done in large part to save costs. That is because it offers the opportunity to provide more preventative care which may result in less expensive emergency services needing to be provided by the government.

It is for the same reason that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are working to educate the public on the reality of long-term care. The more preparation by community members, the better for residents themselves as well as public coffers. To help in this effort, the Department created a new website which provides a wide range of information covering different aspects of long-term care.

You can view the website here: www.longtermcare.gov

The site offers some brief answers to the most basic questions like defining long-term care and discussing payment options.

On the financing side, the site explains that there remains significant misunderstanding about coverage for long-term care. Traditional health insurance will not pay for this care. Medicare only provides some minimal coverage, usually up to 100 days of nursing home care has part of a rehabilitation regime. Medicare does not pay for assistance with daily living activities.

You might be surprised to learn that assistance with “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL) are actually the most common type of care service needed. This refers to basic help with getting dressed, shopping, making meals, or other day-to-day tasks. When receiving this support, seniors are able to stay in their own home and keep as much independence as possible. Yet, to receive ADL support, seniors and their families must be smart about their financial planning, as public programs often do not help.

That is where long-term care insurance comes in. The elder law attorneys at our firm always advise that the best option for families is to have their own private insurance which can guarantee the availability of the exact care desired without reliance on Medicaid rules or the need to “spend down” assets to qualify for Medicaid at all. In fact, with its push to provide more information to the community of these needs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is similarly hoping to remind families of the value of long-term care insurance.

For more specific advice about long-term care planning in New York, feel free to contact our team. We have offices throughout the state with decades of experience helping New York families.

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