NU Online News Service, Oct. 19, 6:58 p.m. – The Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee is considering a bill that could give Keystone state residents a new financial incentive to buy private long-term care insurance.
The bill, S.B. 1050, would require the state to do whatever it can to start a long-term care “partnership” program.
If Pennsylvania starts a partnership program, it could allow residents to exclude up to $140,000 in private LTC insurance benefits from the asset totals used to determine eligibility for Medicaid nursing home help, according to a text of the bill available on the Web at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/ALL/2001/0/SB1050.HTM
California, Connecticut, Indiana and New York already offer similar partnership programs.
But, for now, “other states are … discouraged from implementing their own LTC partnerships as a result of federal legislation,” according to the National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlingon, Va., a trade group for health insurance agents and brokers.
Medicaid, a program funded partly by state governments and partly by the federal government, pays for nursing home care for seriously disabled U.S. residents who are poor.
The program also pays for nursing home care for more affluent Americans who have used legal or illegal means to exclude assets from Medicaid eligibility calculations.
Many consumer advocates and health policy advocates argue that the government has a moral responsibility to pay for long-term care for everyone, or for anyone who asks for help, but the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 let states experiment with promoting more personal financial responsibility for LTC costs, by allowing states to operate LTC partnership asset-shielding programs.