Long-Term Care—An Overview

THE PUBLIC NEED AND, THEREFORE, THE CASE FOR ADDRESSING PUBLIC POLICY OPTIONS FOR LONG-TERM CARE (LTC) financing is strong. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of Americans reaching age 65 will need some form of LTC service; on average, people turning 65 today will need some type of LTC service for three years; and 20 percent will need it for longer than five years.

There can be substantial costs for LTC services, and finding ways to pay for those services and supports can be challenging. The federal-state Medicaid program provides LTC services and supports, but there are income and asset eligibility requirements that must be met; Medicare coverage is limited in the benefits it offers and only supports payments for service for the first 100 days of care; and private LTC insurance can be cost-prohibitive for consumers.

In fact, much of the long-term care services in the U.S. are provided through informal arrangements by family members, sometimes at great financial cost.

In the coming weeks, the Academy will produce new materials that focus on long-term care in the context of the 2016 presidential election. In the meantime, you can read more about the Academy’s work on long-term care as part of the Academy’s Aging Securely initiative.