Current Issues and Potential Solutions for Addressing America’s Long-Term Care Financing Crisis


This paper serves as an overview of the Shaping Affordable Pathways for Aging with Dignity series. The series summarizes current issues in financing long-term care and outlines policy options for increasing affordable access to services.

Date Updated: 03/20/2013

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. Each of these life-changing events presents individuals and their families with a new set of needs and challenges that require a variety of human capital and financial resources to help affected persons redefine and maintain daily living on their terms. The resources necessary to help individuals with ongoing support needs, often called long-term care (LTC) or longterm services and supports (LTSS), range from moderate to substantial. Yet today, Americans have few affordable options to either pay for this kind of support or mitigate the future financial risk associated with this very real and likely circumstance in their lives…

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