Meeting a Growing Demand for Long-Term Care Services

According to the Center for American Progress, about 12 million elderly or disabled Americans rely on long-term care to help them with tasks ranging from eating and bathing to housekeeping and cooking. As described in a recent article,

The need for long-term care can arise at any age but the doubling of the elderly population over the coming decades means a substantial increase in the number of people who will need long-term care. These demographic changes have placed enormous pressure on the United States’ inadequate mechanisms for financing long-term supports and services.

The issue of how to finance and deliver long-term care affects the economic security of millions of families, as well as state and federal governments’ budgets. Policymakers should consider comprehensive changes that will enhance how we pay for these services, balancing public and private insurance with family and friend caregiving. The targeted reforms outlined in this issue brief are an important starting point that will help more Americans afford the long-term care they are likely to need in the coming decades.

Maryland began shifting from grant-based funding for aging programs to a fee-for-services model in 2012 with the Home and Community Based Waiver for Older Adults. Currently, we are billing for the Community Options Waiver and not covering the costs. Aging services such as Maryland Access Point (MAP) and others are moving to fee-for-service as well. The transition at the state level moves forward despite the fact that revenue estimates for fee-based services do not come close to matching current grant-funding levels. Maryland’s counties can continue to support older adults’ aging-in-place in Maryland with strategic planning for the sustainability of current programs. It is estimated that by 2030, 1 in every 5 Americans will be over 65 years of age.

These issues will be discussed at MACo’s Winter Conference, during the Maryland Association of Area Agencies on Aging session, Will the Boomers Bust Us?: A Reality Check.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.