Medicaid is a primary payment source for various long-term medical care solutions in the United States. In many situations, Medicaid is utilized to pay for residential care facilities. Deciding that one needs to transition to a nursing home, however, is rarely an easy decision and many elderly individuals attempt to stay at home as long as possible. Many senior citizens rely on home-based services to postpone moving into nursing homes. Medicaid offers two types of long-term care: home community-based services and institutional care. States have discretion in regards to whether they should offer home community-based services in addition to institutional care, which has led to significant gaps in services between states.
While funding for home-based services has not risen to meet demands, these options might change soon. In March 2021, the American Jobs Plan proposed increasing the funds utilized to provide Medicaid long-term care services to more individuals.
The Role of the American Jobs Plan
The American Jobs Plan focuses on strengthening the economy in several ways which include improving infrastructure, investing in manufacturing and small business, and promoting health care, housing, and schools.
What the Plan Means for Medicaid
The Plan includes the allocation of $400 billion that will be used to revamp and reinvest in Medicaid’s home and community-based services over the next eight years which represents 17% of the plan’s budget. This money in combination with the $12 billion assigned to Medicaid Home and Community Based Services will play a powerful role in widening the impact of these services. These new funds in the Medicaid system will hopefully be used to attract more qualified workers, expand eligibility for Medicaid’s long-term care programs, reduce wait times for services, and widen the Money Follows the Person program.
The Future of Medicaid Long-Term Care Services
Some people believe that the Jobs Act does not extend far enough. After all, while the Act increases the reach of the Home and Community Based Services part of Medicaid but no other aspects of Medicaid. Others have criticized these changes to Medicaid because the needs of younger adults and older disabled individuals including their need for long-term care are still not satisfied.
Another concern about this change to Medicaid is that increased pay for long-term care workers could lead to other service areas being understaffed or workers not being suitably compensated. Additionally, higher labor costs could lead some agencies to reduce hours which would mean less suitable care for Medicaid recipients. Lastly, a growing number of Americans might be able to afford neither long-term care insurance nor Medicaid. To combat this problem, some have suggested the creation of federally funded long-term care insurance.
Speak with a Compassionate Elder Law Attorney
Successfully planning for long-term care is one of the most challenging aspects of the aging process. If you or your loved ones need the assistance of a skilled elder law attorney, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.