Back in October, Society of Actuaries held a Long-Term Care Think Tank workshop near Chicago.
Moderators from Maddock Douglas Inc., a consulting firm, tried to help people like Brian Collins of the Bipartisan Policy Center, Patrick Reeder of Genworth and Terry Truesdell of National LTC Network bring out their inner science fiction writers.
The goal was to come up with original, potentially practical ideas for improving the quality of long-term care (LTC) services, increasing the supply and, if possible, doing a better job of paying for services. Maddock Douglas consultants recently posted a report based on the workshop brainstorming.
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Data-related ideas included developing a health longevity app and a care-locating portal.
The two top ideas in the paying for care, or “pay-fors,” category were creating a “flex 401(k)” that could be used to pay for LTC services and a family LTC account.
In the category of service evolution and expansion, the workshop participants came up with the idea of developing a long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy that would look much more like an ordinary acute medical policy, and the idea of “Uberification.”
Workshop participants suggested that services resembling Uber’s ridesharing could create highly efficient new LTC services markets, lowering the cost of some types of LTC services by making it easier for people to supply them.
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Participants thought that consumers might trust local entrepreneurs more than they would a big corporation, and that getting into the business of offering some types of simple home health care would require little overhead.
For a look at some ideas about how today’s LTCI agents and brokers might fit in an “AirLTC” world, read on.
1. You could figure out how to tell clients about the Uber-like LTC services that already exist.
Many older Americans start to think about whether they need to move into a facility after losing the ability to handle tasks such as shopping, and getting to the doctor on their own. Adult children used to a suburban lifestyle may think the only realistic answer for parents who have lost the ability to drive is an assisted living facility.
In areas in which Uber is active, Uber itself can keep the loss of a driver license from leading to a loss of independence.
General-purpose errand-running services like TaskRabbit can keep an inability to go grocery shopping, change light bulbs or do the laundry from becoming a crippling inability. The Autism NOW Center and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network have included TaskRabbit in a grant-funded guide to home and community-based services. TaskRabbit appears right under Meals on Wheels.
Meanwhile, in some communities, companies are already trying to offer “gig economy” services aimed at the LTC market.
SitterCity, for example, offers a section for consumers who are looking for care for adults. The site encourages families to use its site to look for rehabilitation care specialists, respite care providers, certified nursing assistants, and companions with Alzheimer’s and dementia experience.
Room2Care, a Miami company, lets older people who have spare room in their homes use the extra living space to attract live-in care providers.
In some communities, an experienced LTC planner might be able to get attention simply by conducting seminars that explain which services are actually available.