Most people would like to believe that the $2.5 trillion Affordable Care Act and the 20,000 pages of ObamaCare regulations are going to address some of the main healthcare coverage problems throughout the country. However, there is a large coverage gap that the provision is still ignoring. It is an issue that has driven millions of Americans into poverty before ObamaCare could take effect and will continue to do so even when ObamaCare becomes more evident. This issue is the rise in the cost of long term care.
The majority of Americans do not have long term care insurance. They end up in nursing homes or need home health care due to a stroke or other condition, but they don’t know how they’re going to cover the costs for this because they don’t have enough money to afford it on their own. Often times, their families, children, or spouses end up paying for a lot of the coverage. However, even with everyone teaming up to pay for the coverage, it may not be able to cover everything. Nursing homes typically cost over $94,000 per year and home health care can cost over $10,000 per month. Long term care is the largest out of pocket medical cost for seniors and one of the main reasons for personal bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, ObamaCare doesn’t even begin to address this issue. Even in 30 states that will expand their Medicaid coverage in 2014, a two person family would still require the monthly income of less than $1800 in order to be able to qualify for Medicaid. These are standards that people who are in need of long term care cannot live by. Those with higher incomes are mandated to purchase health plans that won’t cover long term care. The ObamaCare bill used to include a voluntary CLASS program for long term care that would have provided only $50 per day of benefits. That is hardly even 10 percent of what is actually needed to pay for long term care for most people.
Long term care coverage costs are only getting worse. A recent study found that 15 percent of those who are over the age of 70 have dementia. Long term care costs are over $200 billion annually. Dementia care costs are estimated to reach over a trillion dollars every year by 2030 based on the aging population. Congress and the administration have set up a 15 member Federal Long Term Care Commission to help study the issue and try to find a solution. This is their only alternative to what failed to be covered by ObamaCare. The hope is that they will be able to create or discover a solution that will either make long term care more affordable for individuals or propose a new program that would target the issue directly by making long term care available for everyone throughout the country, similar to what ObamaCare could have done if the budget could have sustained it financially.