Groups tout payment plans; Pallone promises legislation

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) favors a Medicare Part E option.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) favors a Medicare Part E option.

Several organizations have weighed in on how to finance long-term care services and supports for more than 12 million Americans, leading a Congressional committee to push toward a possible legislative remedy later this year.

On March 1, industry experts and advocates testified before a House subcommittee on LTSS reform proposals. In late February, a Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative report proposed a universal catastrophic insurance program as the most promising solution to keeping LTSS sustainable. The plan also suggested ways to modernize the program to protect lower income beneficiaries, as well as public and private initiatives to address non-catastrophic risk issues. 

The LTCFC report
followed earlier findings by LeadingAge, whose report pinpointed a mandatory insurance plan as the best choice to minimize costs and maximize coverage. Also, the Bipartisan Policy Center suggested an insurance program linked to retirement benefits as a solution to the growing demand for LTSS.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) said he plans to introduce legislation sometime this year to “provide a federal role” in reforming long-term care financing. Pallone's plan includes a proposed “Part E” option for Medicare that would provide financing for LTC

Subcommittee Vice Chairman Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) also has introduced H.R. 1361, which would allow people to use home equity to finance long-term care.

The cost of providing LTSS continues rising. A recent Congressional Budget Office report predicted that private and government spending on LTSS by seniors could rise to 3% of GDP in 2050.