Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission Begins Public Meetings
The Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission held its first public meeting last week. The meeting is the first of many regional public meetings that are meant to garner public input on the state’s long term care system as it is now and suggestions for future improvement.
Seeking Public Input
Any public input given at the regional meetings will be used to help create the final recommendations and detailed plan that the commission is required to submit to the governor by the end of the year. The commission is seeking better ways to help coordinate and integrate the long term care system within the state of Pennsylvania, which like those throughout the nation, is facing some serious hurdles.
Pennsylvania spends $4.7 billion annually on Medicaid long term care services, according to a press release published by the commission. The state also boasts the 4th largest percentage of residents aged 60 and older and the 85+ population in the state is expected to grow by 42% in the next decade, compared to just 2% growth for the total population.
Governor Tom Corbett created the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission by executive order. The commission is part of his Healthy Pennsylvania plan, which seeks to rework the state’s public health care system to help provide more affordable, quality health care in an effective manner.
Need to Improve System
The first meeting was held on April 11 at 333 Market Street, Honors Suite, Harrisburg and there will be several more in the series. Three more public meetings will be held in May and two more in June, ending with the final regional public meeting on June 20.
The need for long term care is quickly increasing, as health care technology helps improve life spans of Americans. Long term care includes services provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and by home health aides, too. Though most people think long term care is just for the elderly, that’s actually not the case. 40% of individuals receiving long term care are between the ages of 18 and 65. Anything from a bad fall to surgery to a debilitating illness can require the need of long term care and planning for that risk can help ensure you don’t have to pay out of pocket or deplete your assets and turn to Medicaid for assistance.
A Federal Long Term Care Commission was created last year and submitted recommendations to Congress at the end of the year, but so far no changes have been made based on those recommendations. Some of the recommendations included raising awareness about the risk of long term care and the need to plan for that risk, changing certain rules to make Medicare long term care services more widely available to Americans, and pointing more people towards Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Plans, which are available in almost all 50 states.
Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Plans provide a way for people to transfer the huge financial risk of long term care to private insurance companies by purchasing an insurance policy. This type of policy helps protect their assets from the growing cost of long term care and provide them with assurance that should they need care for an extended period of time, their policy will help cover the cost.
With the rapidly increasing need for care, it has become more critical that Americans start planning for their long term care needs early to help secure their retirement in the future. Visit the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission website or read more about how Long Term Care Insurance works here.