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Possible Long Term Care Legislation on the Horizon?

       Just the other day I had someone ask me about the possibility of the government extending the Medicaid lookback from 5 years to 10 years. Since the last change in 2005 when the lookback went from 3 to 5 years (which change became effective in February, 2006) I have heard this rumor reported to me numerous times but have never found anything to substantiate it and know of no bill in the works in Congress.

       There are, however, some other changes possible on the long term care financing front. Although still in what I would call infancy stages, Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey among others has been working on legislation which would potentially expand government benefits to cover long term care. Some may remember that Representative Pallone was involved in the passage of the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act. (See my posts 4/12/10 and 4/19/10.)

       The CLASS Act was designed to provide a modest amount of benefits to cover long term care. It was a voluntary program which was supposed to work like insurance. Participants paid a premium for a minimum of 5 years and then could be eligible to receive an amount of approximately $75 per day to cover long term care expenses. The program received a lot of criticism and eventually was repealed in 2013.

       The new proposed legislation has some similarities to the CLASS act – at least the current draft – because many of the details still need to be worked out. The major difference, however, is that this new program would provide universal coverage, meaning it would just be voluntary as the CLASS Act was. Next week I’ll explain more.