Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Implementing the Long Term Care Partnership Program

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Long term care, which includes preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, and maintenance services, will become essential at some point in life for roughly 25% of people with MS. The National Multiple Sclerosis society supports providing long term care services, especially those that promote active lifestyles and community involvement. Long term care, however, comes at an expensive price—costing an average of $30,000 per year.

Senate Bill 1193 was introduced to the North Carolina General Assembly in May in order to implement the North Carolina Long Term Care Partnership Program. It would permit resource protection and disregard for people who purchase a Long Term Care Partnership policy, utilize the benefits, and apply for Medicaid. The Partnership Program would enable policy holders to set aside the amount of assets equal to their policy benefit amount from Medicaid eligibility and estate recovery determinations. The Program, if enacted, would affect the eligibility for enrollment and estate recovery process for the payment of care once the person is deceased.

Many people exhaust their resources in order to cover costs for long term care services. Long term care is not covered by Medicare, which leaves Medicaid as the largest payer of these services. The goal of the Long Term Care Partnership Program is to reduce Medicaid costs in the future by reducing dependence with incentives. Using private insurance to plan ahead for long term care, instead of depleting resources to pay for care at the time it is needed, will help achieve this.  The bill, which has passed through the Senate and the first reading of the House, is currently being amended.

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