As you listen to the drum beat of criticism and negative reactions to health reform and hear the loud screams from seniors worried about their Medicare, please note that the health reform law includes an important new benefit covering long term care at home.
Not many years ago, Congress in its wisdom passed what was called the Medicare Catastrophic Act, then rescinded it in lightning speed when certain seniors rebelled and called for its repeal. Sadly, this legislation would have protected millions of American families from the devastating costs of long-term care and was a missed opportunity to solve a vexing issue.
The late Sen. Kennedy sponsored a bill called the “CLASS Act,” which Congress in its wisdom rolled into the final health reform package. This move will mean that over time those who opt to pay a premium to the government will have coverage for long term care at home. It does not include payment for care in a nursing home.
For those like me who purchased long term care insurance, we are waiting to see how insurance companies will react to this. My policy, like so many others, covers home care. It is likely that many companies will develop what is called wraparound policies similar to Medigap, but we will have to wait and see.
For someone who has been involved in more than one national campaign to secure long term care coverage for older Americans, this new benefit is truly incredible. And, like health reform itself, something that I thought I would not live to see.