CLASS Act offers 'innovative' reform approach: Sebelius

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
A Senate proposal to create a national long-term care disability insurance program gained a big stamp of approval last month when a cabinet member sent a letter of support on behalf of President Obama to a committee chairman.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the CLASS Act program “innovative” in a letter to Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She also said that passage of the measure would help ensure availability of long-term care services and supports for individuals and families alike.

Under the Kennedy plan, workers could pay an average of a $65-per-month premium. That could make them eligible for at least $50 per day in long-term care and disability insurance benefits in the event they have a disability.
This money would help pay for home- and community-based services or nursing home care before Medicaid payments kick in.

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, which has been advocating a similar insurance benefit, was the loudest provider group hailing the CLASS Act endorsement.

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