Obama Health Plan Not Likely To Embrace Long Term Care
If you've put off getting long term care insurance, should you put it off a bit longer, anticipating the new administration's health plan? "I wouldn't advise it," says Denise Gott, Chairman of the Board of LTC Financial Partners LLC (LTCFP), one of the nation's most experienced long term care insurance agencies. "Long term care has never been a part of any candidate's overall health care reform proposal, and likely never will be."
Why not? "The country is split over the degree to which the government should be involved in our health care system, and this is reflected in Congress," Gott says. "Fiscally conservative Democrats, allied with Republicans, will question a big-ticket package for basic health care, let alone expanding to include long term care."
The cost of health care reform will be huge, and would be much larger with long term care included. "If the Obama administration's health proposal moves forward in its current form," Gott says, "it will easily cost $100 billion per year to fund. If you added in the cost of long term care services, the total outlay would easily double." That's extremely unlikely to happen, she points out. In addition to the natural resistance of conservatives in Congress, there's an additional challenge. "If you give doctors, hospitals, drug companies, insurers and all the others what they want to get them onboard, you will create an enormously expensive bill and subsequent opposition. That's why the California health bill failed earlier this year when the total costs became clear."
Help with long term care expenses isn't likely to expand beyond the limited amount currently offered to destitute individuals through Medicaid, administered by the states. Medicare does not cover long term care expenses, though many Americans mistakenly assume it does. "The future of long term care lies in private insurance and the specialists who can provide assistance in navigating the maze of insurers, plans, and premiums," says Gott.
There's a big risk in waiting to secure long term care insurance in the faint hope Washington might eventually pick up the tab. "If your health deteriorates," Gott says, "you'll have to pay a higher rate or might not qualify at all."
Gott's organization offers help from over 550 independent long term care agents. They're available by phone or in person to advise individuals and companies on the most suitable policies from leading insurance companies.