CMS to begin second phase of project urging people to plan for LTC

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is looking for five to 10 states to participate in the second phase of a project to get people thinking about long-term care planning.

CMS launched the first phase in January in five states. The purpose of the trial is to seek the best methods for encouraging planning for long-term care costs. Medicare does not cover long-term care and cash-strapped Medicaid pays nearly half of long-term care costs in the United States.

CMS, along with governors, sent letters to households with members aged 50 to 70 encouraging planning for future care needs. The letters include information about Medicare and Medicaid, private financing options and suggestions on how to plan for long-term care.

States will be chosen through competition. CMS will earmark $2.5 million toward the project; states will pay the cost of printing and mailing the governors' letters. Phase two will run from January to May 2006 and could reach 5 million households.