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Group Tries To Keep LTC Program In Budget Bill

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America’s Health Insurance Plans is asking Congress to include a national long term care partnership provision in a major budget reconciliation bill.[@@]

Lawmakers expect to start working Monday on a conference report that will resolve differences between the House and Senate budget bills.

LTC partnership programs, now available only through pilot programs in California, Connecticut, Indiana and New York, give states the ability to ease access to Medicaid nursing home benefits for residents who buy and exhaust private long term care insurance benefits.

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Karen Ignagni, president of AHIP, Washington, has sent a letter to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, chairman of the budget reconciliation bill conference committee, emphasizing the importance of the LTC partnership program and asking lawmakers to expand on partnership provisions in the House and Senate bills that would grandfather in existing partnership policies.

In addition, “we encourage you to consider establishing reciprocity among states so that seniors may choose to retire when they care to without fear of losing the benefit of their long term care partnership policy,” Ignagni writes. “As long term care partnerships are expanded from the current demonstration to all 50 states, it is important to have consistent rules.”