How should we finance long-term care?

Howard Gleckman • MAY 7, 2014

Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute explains the many challenges with how long-term care is financed in the U.S., and outlines some of the potential solutions proposed by policy experts. The current system is unsustainable, but according to Gleckman, nobody quite knows what the answer should be. The costs of long-term care are very high, the delivery mechanisms are inefficient, and the number of people who purchase long-term care insurance is alarmingly low. Many people pay for their care out of pocket until they become impoverished, and then turn themselves over to Medicaid. Few people purchase private long-term care insurance, says Gleckman, because of the high prices, and the industry cannot lower prices because it cannot lower the cost. Many options for addressing the issue are being discussed, according to Gleckman, but every option has major problems and challenges, and none is a clear political winner.

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