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Financial help for long-term care?

Should the federal government provide financial assistance to those who care for loved ones at home?

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  • Anonymous

    Americans need to get real. You either want larger or smaller government, you can’t have it both ways. Are you willing to increase your taxes to pay for this additional service?

  • tpenna

    I know I am. This problem is about to get very real very fast with the aging Boomers. And there are very few families that are prepared for it.

    Again and again, Americans have indicated that they want services and assistance for things like this, but then they agitate for lower taxes. I agree with you on that. I just believe we should be paying higher taxes for a robust social safety net.

  • care

    America is getting real. There are programs already out there that provide the assistance to the people who need it. These programs actually don’t increase your taxes, they save states medicaid money. States have no problem paying over $250 a day for nursing home care but these programs cost the state a fraction of that total and keep people at home were they are happier. Watch the program and see.

  • Alfred

    CERTAINLY more taxes are a societal RESPONSIBILITY needed to CARE FOR ITS CITIZENS.

    When citizens KNOW there is the security of a all-encompassing health care program, from birth till death, they are MORE AT PEACE with their society and are likely to INCREASE the level of comity, civilization, decency of the nation, AND SPEND MORE since they do not need to hoard, worry, and save for that very very rainy series of days, weeks and months, even years.

    For the miniscule cost of a doze military aircraft a THOUSAND people can be cared for fr a year AT HOME, full-time, preserving their health with 1:1 compassion in the comfort of their home AT SMALLER COST THAN IN A “home/institution.”

    NO LESS THAN A POLICE FORCE, an ARMY, a FIRE Dep’t., PUBLIC SCHOOLS, bridges over rivers, HIGHWAYS over the flat land and hills, MEDICAL-Long Term Health Care MUST BE A RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL.

    See the success and love exemplified by the nations of western Europe.

    State Managed and paid for medical and Long Term care for all ? and without killing Medicaid?

    Well– if that’s how your and my MOTHER AND FATHER can be cared for without breaking the family savings bank- WHY NOT?

    Since MEDICARE WORKS FOR ALL, E-X-T-E-N-D IT to LONG TERM CARE programs for a small, yes very SMALL progressive TAX on ALL earners. From 50 CENTS per week for the working poor to $50 per week for the highest paid and ALL CAN BE CARED FOR.

    Amnything less is mean, obscene and selfish since only the rich get cared for well in old age, or those with extraordinary families where DEDICATIONS IS HEAVENLY but rare. THE REST ARE horribly neglected, mistreated and / or drain the Medicaid resources, and many cases, impoverish families.

  • Maureen

    Once an elderly person is no longer able to respond to loved ones or participate in life, what is the reason for staying alive? Is this something they can recover from? We become infants who will not outgrow it. I greatly respect the sacrifices being made by these caretakers. Does their experience help them face the end for themselves, like some hard-won knowledge? Or are we as a society merely ensuring a slow death? Won’t the loved one suffer more and more as time goes on? I have to ask, what is the purpose?

  • sister chemist

    I have long term care insurance which I need since I am single, never married and no siblings. The only people who will take care of me are strangers whom I hire and pay for from the insurance or other resources

  • Ralfanna Caple

    This does not have to be an “either/or” situation of large or small goverment. In fact, it has been costed out to be less expensive, and would not require additional taxes, but rather a reallocation of resources towards a more cost effective AND desirable way to care for the elderly for most ( but not all) situations .Either/or philosophies are a limited way of thinking about most situations. Lets be open to a combo of possibilities and we will find solutions that work and don’t to require more taxes.

  • Ralfanna Caple


  • Al

    When I originally purchased long term care I was assured that my policy would not increase in the years to come. After 5 years my wife and my policy doubled in cost. I was informed by the company that I could keep just the value that I had allready invested or quit and get nothing. I chose to stay with the policy only to get hit in 4 years by another increase that again almost doubled my premium. The company indicated that our government had given them permission to increase the cost because they had miss calculated the actuary. Bull. I have used on line calculaters to determine how long I will live and since 1998 it hasn’t changed. I have so much invested now they have me over a barrel. Another instance of Government interference and Company Greed.

  • Patsy, Edmonton, Canada

    I’ve just watched this program on caring for the elderly hosted by Scott Simon. Why didn’t anyone raise the question of voluntary euthanasia? It was the elephant in the room. It’s part of the solution. A lot of people would willingly choose the time and timing of when they die. I’d absolutely hate to end up like that 94-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s. I want the option of not getting to that stage, being useless to myself and everyone else. Do you call that compassion to keep people alive like that?

  • Richard

    This is a great idea!

  • Richard

    Hi Patsy, I agree with you. I believe this is an option in the Netherlands.

  • Get_Real

    America needs to recognize the obvious. Euthanasia is an inevitable reality for the comotose and brain dead individuals who can’t live without total artificial life support.

  • Ira

    Hi Al,

    I’ve been in insurance for over 30 years, sold LTC for 15 of those years and been focused entirely on LTC planning since 2007.

    I’ve never seen an LTC policy that had a ‘no increase’ guarantee. If your agent told you that, either he didn’t understand how the product was ‘constructed’ or he didn’t tell you the truth.

    All LTC policies are, and have been, to the best of my knowledge, what’s known as ‘Guaranteed Renewable’ which, essentially, means, as long as you pay the premiums the policy will remain in force. This does NOT mean that the company cannot raise rates.

    However, no company can raise rates on existing business without going thru some sort of vetting process with the State Department of Insurance (DOI) for the State where you resided when the policies were purchased. Nor, can they choose you out of all the other policyholders in your state to raise your rates and none of the other of the State’s resident policyholders with your ‘class’ of policy.

    Companies usually must provide your State’s DOI with comprehensive financial evidence of the need to increase premiums – not just their say-so. The State can respond, “OK, raise the rates”, “Nope, no raise” or, “No, can’t raise them what you asked, only this much”.

    I’ve seen increases on ‘in-force’ LTC policies numerous times over the past years. Every time I’ve been asked if I can ” do better”, I’ve found that new business rates for the same benefits purchased in that original policy were SUBSTANTIALLY greater than those being charged **even with the increase**.

    My strong suggestion – don’t get rid of what you have – you’ll never replace it. And, if the policy is truly more expensive than you can bear, benefits purchased can be adjusted downward to reduce the cost, without entirely getting rid of the policy. For example, reduce lifetime benefits to 5 years, or adjust the inflation factor, or…

    Find an advisor who specializes in LTC insurance and ask for their assistance in designing a benefit package with your current coverage that’s more amenable for your pocket. To find an LTC specialist, try going to (that’s the American Association of Long Term Care Insurance) and do a search. Or, try and look there. I’m sure you willl find someone well qualified, with whom you’ll be comfortable and who can be of assistance to you and your wife.

  • Barbara Hanson

    Some LTC insurance policies will give you cash to spend as you see fit. Most LTC insurance will pay for your friends to help, if you wish. I, for one, would prefer the care from professionals rather than ask for care from friends and family. I want friends and family to come visit and not have to do the difficult part of caregiving…

    I have seen several singlr women who were extremely happy moving in to Assisted Living homes–they said,”I wish I hadn’t waited so long.” Independence at home alone is not so fun when there is little to do, you are disabled, and trying to manage your house and in-home caregivers, too.

    The government is looking at care as our personal choice of housing, as it is not medically necessary care, so Medicare does not pay for it. We choose to stay home or leave. It is our personal responsibility to save, plan w/ family, invest and/or insure so we have the funds or help to be able to stay where we wish to live comfortably. Most folks who insure are experienced in LTC already, and are adamant they never want “to be a burden” to their friends and family.

  • Anonymous Caregiver In VA

    I’m 43, single, an only child with no kids & have a 72 year old father who has Alzheimers. I took a break from practicing law to caregive a mother who had breast cancer then 2 years later she was killed in an auto accident so there went my promising career. Dad has had cognitive impairment issues since I came home for Mom in 2003 (and maybe earlier, my mother hid a lot from me). Dad’s future has been in my hands since 2005. Yes some day he’ll either die or need Alzhemier’s appropriate long term care, but someday I hope to have a life again. I have sacrificed more career time than a mother raising children because as Alzhemers progresses the afflicted person becomes ever-increasingly dependent on some kind of care (and more of a stranger to every one).

    Thanks to how my life went, I am unlikely to ever have kids of my own (which does not bother me) and I’m unlikely to be able to rejoin the dating pool much less get married before the appropriate place for me to seek a mate will be events & websites for the over-50 set (which sometimes bothers me).

    Medicare doesn’t cover what my father needs right now (ie managing his money, fending off telemarketers & those who would prey on him, making sure he eats right, etc). Worse neither does Obama’s newly passed Affordable Care Act do anything for people with Alzheimers, much less their unpaid caregivers.

    Seriously as I approach the 10 years of caring for sick parents milestone, something has got to give, especially given how businesses these days don’t want to hire people over a certain age (someday I hope to work for a living again but societal attitudes if they stay the same may kill that option off for me too). God bless the state of Rhode Island for paying relatives who give up everything to do the right thing by their family.

    I only wish *someone* (the federal government, the state government, the local government, employers, insurers, even an organization like the Alzheimers Association) could do something to help those of us who caregive, especially since caregivers are becoming younger and younger and people needing care live on disabled for DECADES now.

    For myself, if I ever get into this kind of situation I am going to the Netherlands and taking the euthanasia option while I am still physically & mentally competent to do so. I will not force another person into the situation I am in

  • Edward Chalk

    Where do I sign in??

  • Christy

    God Bless You. There are few who would do this for their loved ones. I’m caring for my mom currently just from recent illnesses with some help from family members and it has worn on me in just a few months. I’m sure you will be able to go back into practice. At 54, I to have the same concerns re becoming employed later in another job. I have sacrificed several career advancements to be able to be available when my mom needs me, by working part time from home. We do it because of our love for our parents, recognizing what they have done for us in our lives and knowing they would do it for us. I can’t imagine not doing it. Hang in there. :)

  • Karen

    You’re a good son.

  • Karen

    Don’t look to Europe. Because of European countries’ social welfare programs , these countries are going bankrupt.

  • Karen

    You’re wrong, Americans aren’t getting real. A survey was done last year asking Americans in their 40s & 50s how much they think they’ll need to live in retirement. They were thousands of dollars short & don’t have enough saved in retirement to retire let alone if they get sick. They all said they want to live at home in their old age but they don’t have enough in savings & retirement to be able to live at home in their old age.

  • Karen

    Alfred, actions speak louder than words. Americans say they want all these types of services yet when the president, our congressmen & senators want to raise our taxes to pay for these types of services, Americans throw a gigantic temper tantrum & vote those politicians out of office.

  • Judy, Seattle WA

    Not all adult children are available to care for an aged or disabled parent. But if so, this is a bargain for state and federal government agencies as compared to the cost of nursing facilities. Most States already cover long-term care under the federally matched Medicaid program for assisted living either in-home or in a licensed facility when an elderly or disabled person has exhausted all but minimal financial resources. Because the cost of care is so expensive most people’s resources become exhausted within a year or two. The main reason to have long-term care insurance is to preserve a one’s choice of a nursing facility when an adult child or family member is not available to provide in-home care. Not all facilities accept Medicaid patients and a person on Medicaid does not have the same freedom of choice of where to live as a person who pays with private funds or long-term care insurance coverage. This can be very crucial. With the onset of the boomer population, the Medicaid program will become more and more financially strained…all the more reason for individuals to be independently prepared for these realities. If find it very disturbing when I hear a person is planning on relying on Medicaid for long-term care when he or she has an opportunity to make other financial plans.

  • Mild-man

    Not completely true. For example, I have a friend who lives in Denmark. That country and others have a healthy economy yet can still economically provide these socially responsible services. Yes, taxes are higher but, in general, people understand and accept the need.

  • Joseph

    I think more needs to be done. I’m 25 years old and my 54 year old mother has Alzheimer’s. I’ve ran into so many road blocks just trying to get a helping hand. My father is trying to shoulder the weight of the responsibility but it’s breaking him. A lot is done in this country to help seniors but not all people in need of long term care are over the age of 65. When I called several agencies for advice, the best I got was have your father divorce your mother so she can qualify for medicaid. The average cost for taking care of my mother is 2500-3000 dollars a month; i don’t know many people with that type of kind of cash sitting around. Maybe I’m just more opened minded because I’m living the nightmare of health care, but, I sure could use some more assistance from my country.

  • Roger Bennett

    Read your contract for long term care insurance carefully…. I think you’ll find it only covers a very limited period of time under care. Other people may indeed be called upon to step in and provide support, personal or financial. I shopped for this coverage, and found them all lacking……nothing more than a bad bet against yourself for coverage that doesn’t actually do what most people assume they will do.

  • Roger Bennett

    What do you know, one of the leaches who sells this garbage, never mind that these policies are, in effect, prepaid plans with benefits so limited (in duration, primarily), that you are essentially placing a bet against yourself that you are sure to win when you buy this coverage. The guaranteed winner in Long Term Health Care insurance is the insurance company and its brokers, who skim huge sums of money that SHOULD have gone to the actual provision of care to those who need it. Shame on you.

  • Roger Bennett

    Your assumption that “other plans” are available, that are actually viable (affordable and rational) is false. Long term care policies typically pay benefits limited to two years..or less. You can’t afford coverage that pays benefits longer than that. Insurance companies (and their broker/agents) love to sell these plans almost as much as they love to sell annuities. High profit margins, and every penny of that profit is money that does NOT go to the provision of health care for those who need it.

  • @KaylaWildflower

    It’s amazing reading these comments that most people seem to agree that euthanasia should be a logical choice. Yet it’s almost unspeakable in our society. It’s ridiculous. We must stand up to these right-to-lifers.