Medicaid Safety Net Stretched To Pay For Seniors’ Long-Term Care

Elderly - Health Council

“About half of all people turning 65 today will need daily help as they age, either at home or in nursing homes. Such long-term care will cost an average of $91,100 for men and double that for women, because they live longer.In California and across the U.S., many residents can’t afford that, so they turn to Medicaid, the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income people. As a result, Medicaid has become the safety net for millions of people who find themselves unable to pay for nursing home beds or in-home caregivers. This includes middle-class Americans, who often must spend down or transfer their assets to qualify for Medicaid coverage.”

“Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, was never intended to cover long-term care for everyone. Now it pays for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s long-term care expenses, and the share is growing. As baby boomers age, federal Medicaid spending on long-term care is expected to rise significantly — by nearly 50 percent by 2026.”

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