Study debunks long-term care Medicaid 'myth,' researchers say

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House report stirs tempest over proposed Medicaid cuts
House report stirs tempest over proposed Medicaid cuts

More individuals are willing to pay privately for long-term care services than previously thought, authors of a new study assert. The result offers both more hope for nursing home providers and a realization that nursing homes need better strategies to distinguish themselves among their competitors, researchers said.

Almost 30% of long-term care is financed out-of-pocket, claims a new analysis by Avalere Health that was funded by the SCAN Foundation. That's "a full 10%" more than widely used estimates - which notably did not include assisted living - that were previously reported, researchers said.

"Behind those private dollars are customers who make choices, so nursing home operators need to be sensitive to where the dollars come from and how they can best differentiate themselves," said Lindsey Spindle, vice president for external relations for Avalere Health.

Long-term care residents and their family members put approximately $64 billion of personal funding into long-term care services. That is beyond the $350 billion in care that family members and communities contribute in unpaid care, researchers noted. Private health and long-term care insurance added about $16 billion to the payment mix, researchers noted.

"Long-Term Care --- an Essential Element of Healthcare Reform" can be found at www.avalerehealth.net/research/docs/SCAN_Healthcare_Reform.pdf.