SCAN Foundation, Urban Institute propose new ways to finance long-term care

The Medicaid program bears a large brunt of financing long-term care for Americans, and policymakers must explore new alternatives, according to a new policy brief by the SCAN Foundation and the Urban Institute.

Altogether, about half of Americans will need long-term care or support services. As the U.S. population ages, the number requiring such services will increase 140 percent between 2015 and 2055, eventually reaching more than 15.1 million people.

Medicaid program currently pays more than $100 billion a year for long-term care services, covering between 40 and 60 percent of the overall costs, according to the brief. Many states have been shifting nursing home patients into Medicaid managed care plans in order to try and save money.

The brief suggested two alternatives for financing long-term care:  

  • Make long-term care insurance more widely available to consumers, with benefits front-loaded and lasting for a limited time.
  • A catastrophic form of coverage that would not make benefits available until a year or two after they are required, but would provide indefinite coverage after that.

"This modeling lays important groundwork for figuring out how to offer viable coverage options for long-term care," SCAN Foundation President Bruce Chernof, M.D. told FierceHealthPayer in an emailed statement.

To learn more:
- read the brief (.pdf)