Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

A Model Partnership

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

A Model Partnership

Article excerpt

After more than four years of critical examination of residents' needs for long-term care, program design, and coordination among private insurers and state and federal agencies, in December Connecticut launched a pilot project to offer affordable insurance coverage for long-term care. Sponsored in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care is the first project of its kind in the country and is designed to allow state residents to avoid impoverishing themselves to meet nursing home and home care costs.

Under the five-year pilot program, Connecticut residents will be able to purchase private insurance for long-term care that will protect their assets while allowing them to qualify for Medicaid. For every dollar paid out in benefits, that is, a matching dollar of an individual's assets will be protected. When patients are no longer able to meet the costs of care themselves they may still qualify for Medicaid, but with something left in the bank. The policies are geared to those who would enter nursing homes or home care as privately paying patients and would otherwise have to "spend down" into poverty before receiving Medicaid support - some 20 percent of nursing home applicants, the state Department of Aging estimates. Of the 18,000 nursing home or home care patients who now receive Medicaid assistance in Connecticut, some 40 percent started out paying for care themselves.

Connecticut obtained the necessary Medicaid waivers from the Health Care Financing Administration in August 1991. In mid-December Governor Lowell P. Weicker announced approval of the first three policies to be offered under the Partnership, from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Connecticut, The Travelers Companies, and the AMEX Life Assurance Co. …

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