Aging population calls for more grants to long-term care

November 1, 2008

Boomers have a vested interest in finding solutions to forthcoming long-term care crisis

NATIONAL REPORTS- People are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives than in decades past. The aging of America has prompted the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to grant $36 million to 28 states to help older Americans, veterans and those with Alzheimer's to remain in their homes.

About $19 million of this funding involves a new collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"The average senior is being treated for three chronic conditions, and with the diabetes explosion, that number will likely rise," says Brian T. Sullivan, vice president, Martin J Wolff & Co Inc., a Los Angeles insurance agency. "The incentives to create funding for home care are just common sense. We do not have enough room in existing nursing facilities, and of course the care can be rendered much more cost effectively."

LONG-TERM CARE NEEDS

HHS' Administration on Aging (AoA) will provide $10.5 million while states will provide $5.7 million for this new initiative that the AoA will administer in collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration. VA estimates purchasing at least $3 million in services. The number of veterans over age 85 has tripled during the past decade, creating a significant need for long-term care.

"Implications for executives will depend whether they are in the long-term care business or not," Sullivan says.

Most are not. Boomers own a huge share of assets, and finding solutions for the emerging long-term-care crisis is something they should focus on, he says.

Long-term care is still in its infancy, Sullivan believes. "A natural fit is a product that starts out as a disability plan in the earning, younger years and transitions to a long-term-care plan later in life. That way, they can create and keep customers for life," he says.