Jul 30 2009
The insurance industry opposes a long-term care proposal called the CLASS Act, currently included in two major health care reform measures.
Roll Call reports: "The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee package and the House health care reform bill include the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, which would set up a government-run insurance program to provide seniors or disabled people with about $75 per day to help pay for home care or expenses for assisted living or nursing homes. Introduced by HELP Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the CLASS Act would automatically enroll participants and charge them premiums averaging around $65 a month. Participants would be 18 years or older, but anyone could opt out of the plan. Supporters say such a plan is a necessary part of health care reform and would not interfere with private insurers. But companies that currently have a stake in the private long-term care insurance market argue that the government should stay out of that business."
Roll Call reports: "A Senate aide working on the bill draws a distinction between private long-term care insurance and the bill's intention to cover 'long-term services and supports.' This aide, speaking on background, added that the CLASS Act is not designed to put insurers out of business" (Ackley, 7/29).
McKnight's Long Term Care News also reports: "The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance counters that the bill cannot deliver as promised. Its just-released report finds that a $50 daily benefit will require monthly payment closer to $110, not the $65 being promoted. The study also asserts that a new government fund established for such coverage will go broke by 2027. Another obstacle: adverse selection. In other words, people in poorer health will be more likely to sign up for the benefit, the group claims" (7/28).
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.