Even with decades of significant advances in technology and services, all too often there usually comes a time when relatives are simply not able to care for a family member needing assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life. The next step is usually professional care – either at-home care, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. Because of the level of care required, personal resources and insurance benefits are quickly exhausted.
Contrary to popular misconception, Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of custodial care, and Medicaid generally supports low-income individuals. It is therefore imperative that private Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) play a significant role in the financing of long-term care services.
NAIFA supports proposals to encourage the purchase of LTCLI coverage and to educate consumers on the importance of LTC planning. Most recently, in the Spring of 2017 and at the urging of NAIFA, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law an Act that established the Maryland Task Force on LTC Education and Planning. The Task Force developed for the Governor a list of policy recommendations intended to increase the public’s knowledge of LTC, promote the need for LTC planning, and educate consumers on the options for LTC coverage – both private and public plans - and the benefits and limitations of those options. The Task Force delivered its recommendations to the Governor in December 2017.
The Task Force consisted of representatives from state agencies, consumer organizations, and industry trade associations. NAIFA-Maryland was among the Task Force members and had a significant influence in producing the Task Force recommendations.
Among the recommendations to state officials, the Task Force suggests that states produce and execute a survey to measure the level of knowledge state residents have on LTC, target specific groups to receive financial planning education, ensure that Maryland businesses receive the Task Force’s “Plan NOW Starter Kit” (which (includes information on how to successfully plan for LTC with contact information for private and public options), revamp and streamline LTC information on state agency websites, and include various organizations to assist in the outreach effort such as senior and consumer associations and industry trade groups.
The NAIFA-National Government Relations Committee strongly supports the MD LTC Task Force Policy recommendations and encourages the NAIFA state chapters to ask their respective state regulators and legislators to adopt the Task Force’s LTC proposals.