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Life Health > Health Insurance

ACLI Pounds LTC Option In Health Reform

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The American Council of Life Insurers says a new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms its view that a long term care entitlement program in the latest Senate healthcare reform package is untenable.

The proposed Community Living Assistance Supports and Services Act is an “unsustainable program that will add to our nation’s deficit and do little to help most Americans address their long term care needs,” the ACLI said in a statement commenting on a recent analysis of the CLASS Act by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Senate has resisted eliminating the LTC provision, defeating an effort Dec. 4 to remove it from the legislation.

The CMS study, released Dec. 10, reiterates an earlier analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that the CLASS Act is a flawed program.

“We believe that there is a very serious risk that the program, as currently specified, would not be sustainable, because of adverse selection,” CMS chief actuary Richard Foster said in the report.

Foster estimated that the initial take-up rate for the CLASS Act LTC insurance program probably would be just 2%, compared with 4% for comparable private LTC benefits programs, in part because of a relatively high premium for most participants.

Only the sickest participants who could not get private coverage would be likely to stick with such an expensive program, Foster he said.

Citing the CMS report and other analyses criticizing the LTC program, ACLI officials said that the provision “needs to be withdrawn from any final health care bill.”

Helping Americans pay for long term care when it’s needed “is a necessary goal that requires sound public policy solutions but not a new government program that is doomed to failure,” the ACLI said.


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