The demand for long-term care will substantially outpace the rate of growth in the U.S. economy over the next decade. An estimated 12 million Americans are currently in need of long-term services and supports (LTSS)—defined as institutional or home-based assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or medication management—including both seniors and persons under age 65 living with physical or cognitive limitations. In the next two decades, the U.S. health care system will face a tidal wave of aging baby boomers. This, among many other factors, will create an unsustainable demand for LTSS in the coming years.
On March 20, 2013, experts convened at the National Press Club in Washingon, D.C for a briefing hosted by The SCAN Foundation on the key issues affecting the nation's long-term care system. They presented practical options from various perspectives for increasing access to affordable long-term care services for the millions of Americans needing this support.
It starts with a late night phone call reporting that a loved one is in the hospital after being in a serious car accident. It is the slow progression of rheumatoid arthritis that grinds one’s mobility to a screeching halt. Or sometimes it comes from the cumulative impact connected with having multiple chronic health conditions that greatly minimize daily functioning. These and other similar markers of change are part of the human experience that American families–regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, current functional status, or other characteristics–encounter.
At some point in their lives, most people will need some form of ongoing assistance, often called long term care (LTC) or long-term services and supports (LTSS). This includes assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing or dressing or supervision required by a cognitive condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.
This brief seeks to answer the question of how many employed individuals (who work for large companies, small companies, or are self-employed) do not currently have access to longterm care coverage. This brief also considers the characteristics that make different types of employers strong or weak prospects for longterm care planning options.
Medicaid provides an important safety net for people who are poor or become poor, either because of the high costs of health and longterm care services or for other reasons. The transition from non-Medicaid to Medicaid status can be difficult, especially since it is generally associated with illness, disability, and declining income and assets. The high cost of long-term services and supports (LTSS) results in catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for many people needing services, some of whom spend down to Medicaid eligibility.