To address the rising costs of long-term services and supports, the AMA adopted a new policy during its Annual Meeting to simplify long-term care insurance while also making it more affordable and innovative.
The policy will automatically enroll current employees and retirees and urges Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans to offer stronger long-term care benefits, according to a press release issued by the AMA.
“Rising costs of everything from home ownership to higher education are making it harder than ever for Americans to save for retirement and the long-services and supports that more and more people require,” Stephen R. Permut, MD, JD, AMA board member, said in the release. “Our hope is that the policies and recommendations we are making today will provide feasible steps forward to alleviating the financial strain on families and Medicaid of providing [long-term services and supports]. With demand for [long-term services and supports] likely doubling over the next 30 years, the time for action and forward-facing reforms is now.”
National spending for long-term services and supports increased from $310 billion in 2013 to $331 billion in 2015, according to AMA. By 2050, about 27 million Americans are expected to need long-term care, up from 12 million in 2010, according to AMA.
More than half of national spending for long-term services and supports comes from Medicaid, according to AMA. Long-term services and supports make up approximately 40% of state Medicare budgets, according to AMA.
The AMA announced new policies to help combat the issues associated with long-term services and supports. The policies support:
- Improving access and affordability of private long-term care insurance;
- Making long-term care insurance transferrable and portable with an opt-out option;
- Innovating product design of long-term care insurance;
- Allowing limited or optional supplemental benefit for long-term services and supports under Medigap plans;
- Permitting Medicare Advantage plans to offer long-term services and supports;
- Offering a respite care benefit as an optional benefit through Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans;
- Initiating a back-end public catastrophic long-term care insurance program;
- Incentivizing states to improve home and community-based services regarding availability; and
- Integrating health and social services and supports better. – by Alaina Tedesco
Healio Internal Medicine was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.