No husbands or wives should have to completely bankrupt themselves when their spouses need Medicaid to fund home- and community-based services (HCBS) such as help with daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing. Yet unless Congress acts, bankruptcy or nursing home admission are exactly what could happen in many such cases in the near future because an important provision that allows spousal impoverishment protections for spouses of Medicaid HCBS recipients is set to expire on March 31.
As AARP’s recent report highlights, the majority of Americans prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible. Helping to enable that are home- and community-based services (HCBS)—the kind of long-term supports provided to older adults and individuals with disabilities residing in communities as they age.
High-profile issues that make daily headlines currently are occupying much of Congress’s attention. Yet one important issue is receiving little to no attention: the Older Americans Act. If Congress does not act, this legislation, which was last reauthorized for three years, will expire on September 30.
AARP Shares Promising Practices and Emerging Innovations through the Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard
In our seminal 2017 Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard, we issued a call to action to “pick up the pace of change.” To help accelerate LTSS reforms, we have released a series of Promising Practices and Emerging Innovations reports that provide real-world solutions.
A major demographic shift is happening. The ages 85+ population is projected to triple between 2015 and 2050. In comparison, the population younger than age 65 will increase by only 12 percent.
Simmering issues important to all older Americans and their families, like health and financial security, may escalate to a full boil in many state Capitols in 2018. Facing these challenges and opportunities head-on, AARP is already exhaustively at work throughout the country, fighting for the issues that matter and driving an innovative agenda focused on commonsense solutions without the clutter of partisanship. Last year, AARP State Offices achieved huge successes, including new supports for family caregivers, greater access to home and community based services, and new ways to save for retirement. This year, we will continue to find ways to better enable more people to live and age as they choose. Among our top priorities: Supporting Family CaregiversAbout 40 million family caregivers represent the backbone of our country’s care system, providing hours of unpaid care to their loved ones every day. Over the past two years, AARP state offices have worked with state legislators and governors to enact more than 150 new laws that support these unsung heroes. In 2018, AARP will continue to support family caregivers and their loved ones by advancing laws and policies that:
I recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel sponsored by Genworth that turned out to be a truly candid and oftentimes personal discussion on an emerging crisis. The topic: “ Solving America’s Long-Term Care Crisis: What We Can Do Now to Fix the $750 Billion Program.”
CMS Report Confirms Medicaid Cuts Would Jeopardize Critical Services and Long-Term Program Stability
The proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) would make significant changes to the Medicaid program, which serves as a critical safety net for millions of people who deplete their life savings and turn to Medicaid for assistance as their ability to care for themselves declines. The bill would repeal the Medicaid expansion and implement a capped financing model for states. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the AHCA would cut $834 billion from the Medicaid program through fiscal year (FY) 2026. CBO projects that 23 million people would lose coverage as a result of the AHCA, most of them — 14 million — because of the changes to Medicaid.
Most of us will need long-term services and supports (LTSS), either for ourselves or for our family members. However, most of us do not know about our options and how to pay for these services. That is why the LTSS State Scorecard — created by the AARP Public Policy Institute and funded by the Scan Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund — ranks states on their aging and disability resource centers. These centers are an important feature of a high-performing LTSS system.
If you have protection against future catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for basic life functions, consider yourself lucky. The vast majority of people in the United States don’t.
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