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Pennsylvania wrestles with LTC planning

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A panel in Pennsylvania has tried to look clearly at a perennial issue: Why states don’t do all that much to get residents to prepare for future long-term care (LTC) bills.

See also: LTC community fights for eyes

The federal government puts more cash in state Medicaid programs these days, but states still spend heavily on Medicaid nursing home programs.

If residents would use more long-term care insurance (LTCI), annuities, cash-value life insurance policies, mutual funds, bank accounts or ceramic piggy banks to finance their own care, they would have more control over the care, and states could reduce outlays, or use the money saved on other activities.

The Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission recently included an LTC planning education recommendation, Proposal 2.2, in its final report.

The commission calls for the state to “pursue a multi-dimensional approach to increase education to promote personal planning for and awareness of [long-term services and supports (LTSS)] needs.”

The goal of that proposal would be to “delay the need for more costly and restrictive levels of care by building preventive services into a more coordinated, person-centered model of LTSS,” the commission says.

One measurable outcome of success would be “growth in [the] number of Pennsylvanians purchasing long-term care insurance,” the commission says.

Building on existing education programs, simplifying information access, and making people more aware of LTCI would be a consumer-friendly thing to do, commission says in a list of “pros” for that strategy.

In a list of cons, the commission cites “insufficient provider staffing and financial resources to support initiatives.”

The state also lacks resources to develop programs, and, to the extent that implementing the proposal would depend on building and improving databases, individuals may be uncomfortable with using the databases, the commission says.

See also: 5 top LTC risk awareness drivers


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