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Federal Long-Term Care Programs Get $1.4 Billion More

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What You Need to Know

  • The ordinary annual Older Americans Act program funding level is $2.13 billion.
  • Home and Community Based Services funding will increase to $853 million, from $392 million.
  • Genworth, a private long-term care insurer, spends about $3.6 billion on LTCI claims per year.

The Administration for Community Living is starting to pump $1.4 billion in extra funding into home care support programs and other Older Americans Act programs.

The cash infusion comes from the new American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This money will increase total Older Americans Act funding 66% over the ordinary level, according to Congressional Research Service figures..

The affected programs are separate from the Medicaid nursing home benefits program, and from other Medicaid and Medicare long-term care programs.

One big, $460 million ARPA boost will go to the federal Home and Community Based Supportive Services program, White House officials said.

That program, which was on track to receive $393 million in funding, provides home care services and adult daycare services for older adults. The list of support services includes help with household cores, grocery shopping, transportation to essential services, and case management.

The program will now get a total of $854 million in 2021 federal funding.

Care providers can also use the Home and Community Based Supportive Services money to vaccinate older Americans against COVID-19 and to help older people cope with the effects of social isolation, officials said.

A $750 million ARPA allocation will go to federal programs that provide home-delivered meals and meals distributed through community centers for older Americans.

Before ARPA became law, the nutrition services programs were on track to receive $952 million in ordinary funding and $168 million in funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

ARPA increased the meal program total to $1.9 billion.

ARPA also provided $145 million in funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which provides caregiving training and some respite care services.

The Context

The new ARPA allocations are small relative to what Medicaid, Medicare and even private long-term care insurance issuers spend on long-term care benefits.

Medicare and Medicaid may spend about $100 billion this year on nursing home care and about $92 billion on home health care, according to National Health Expenditure projections that were prepared before COVID-19 appeared.

One major commercial long-term care insurance provider, Genworth Financial Inc., spent about $3.6 billion on long-term care insurance benefits during the 12-month period that ended March 31, according to the company’s latest quarterly earnings report supplement.

(Image: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)