Lawmaker Pushes for ‘Care Corps’ to Help Elderly

At Genworth LTC Symposium, Rep. Grisham says her care bill ‘not getting enough attention’

Genworth CEO Tom McInerney and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Genworth CEO Tom McInerney and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“Almost 90% of all health care expenditures will be in the last few years of your life,” Tom McInerney, CEO of Genworth Financial, said Wednesday during Genworth’s long-term care symposium on Capitol Hill. “Federal or state governments are going to have to shoulder two-thirds” of the cost of long-term care.

Indeed, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said during the event that the “fastest growing age group is 85 and up.”

“You need LTC, private and [other] programs that make sense when you need it,” she said, adding that “families need to think about LTC [costs] much earlier.”

Grisham is one of the 90 million caregivers in the U.S. today, spending “$25,000 to $40,000 per year” to care for her mother, who is “fully covered by Medicare.”

She introduced legislation in late July, the Care Corps Demonstration Act of 2017, which places volunteers in communities to work with seniors and individuals with disabilities who need extra support to live independently. In exchange, volunteers would receive health insurance and other benefits, including tuition assistance.

The legislation, Grisham said Wednesday, is “a brand-new concept.”

Grisham told ThinkAdvisor the bill is “not getting enough attention. We’re jumpstarting it again.”

The Care Corps program, according to Graham, would “connect younger volunteers with aging and disability populations, and increase access to services, while encouraging growth in the direct care and health care work force.”

The bill also authorizes grants for the creation of local Care Corps programs at $10 million per year over five years. Public or private nonprofit groups would also be able to apply for Care Corps grants and administer the program locally, training and assigning members to communities in need.  

Also under the bill, volunteers would be trained “to support the achievement and maintenance of the highest level of independent living.”

Also discussed at the Genworth event was the release in late September of Genworth’s annual Cost of Care survey.

Some of the survey findings include:

  • $725 billion per year is spent on LTC;
  • $7 billion is spent on private LTC insurance, $450 billion comes from unpaid family caregiving;
  • Caregivers miss an average of 7 hours of work per week and lose 33% of income;
  • Cost of care is going up, with a 4.5% increase across all care categories, with the most pronounced increase in home care; and
  • Nursing home cost is up 50% since Genworth starting doing the annual study 14 years ago.

--- Check out How to Get Medicaid for Nursing Home Care Without Going Broke on ThinkAdvisor.

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Genworth’s annual study on the cost of care nationwide, which includes home care, assisted living facilities, etc., is not reassuring.

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