All-in-one Medicare plans may open to younger people

Comments on the idea of expanding access to PACE coverage are due Feb. 10

The PACE Innovation Act of 2015 could expand access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which packages benefits for long-term care together with benefits for acute health care. (Photo: Thinkstock) The PACE Innovation Act of 2015 could expand access to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which packages benefits for long-term care together with benefits for acute health care. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Federal regulators are asking for comments about the idea of expanding access to the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

The PACE system now packages long-term care services together with acute health care services for older people who are living at home and need the equivalent of nursing home care.

A new federal law, the PACE Innovation Act of 2015, lets the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services test the PACE concept on other types of people, including younger people who need the equivalent of nursing home care, and older people who do not necessarily need nursing home care.

Related: Feds update application process for PACE health-LTC programs

Today, the PACE program serves people ages 55 and older who are eligible for Medicare and also eligible for Medicaid nursing home benefits.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the arm of HHS that runs the Medicare program and oversees the Medicaid program, says it is seeking feedback from all interested parties on the idea of a new, PACE-like pilot program.

The program would provide comprehensive services for people ages 21 to 54 who have problems with mobility, require the equivalent of nursing home care, and are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

CMS is also asking for suggestions about other types of people who could use PACE-like plans, and how regulators could better tailor PACE and PACE-like plans for enrollees. 

Comments are due Feb. 10.

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