Private long term care insurance can play a critical role in buffering Medicare and Medicaid against the cost of caring for the elderly.[@@]
Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, made that argument here today at a hearing on long term care and Medicaid that was convened by Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ohio, chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
Deal has been one of the leaders in efforts to establish an “above the line” deduction for LTC insurance premiums and let workers pay for LTC insurance with contributions to flexible spending accounts and cafeteria plans.
Private LTC insurance can save about $5,000 in Medicaid expenditures per policyholder and $1,600 in Medicare expenditures per policyholder, and that means policies already in force could save Medicare and Medicaid a total of about $30 billion, Ignagni predicted.
“These savings will grow as more people acquire policies and the average age of purchasers continues to decline,” Ignagni said.
AHIP wants to share ideas with the subcommittee about ways to help Medicaid and Medicare address the challenge of paying for long term care, Ignagni said.