Capitol Correspondence - 05.07.18

U.S. Representative Proposes Medicare Long-Term Care Benefit

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According to a press release from Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce:

“[On May 2, 2018] at a roundtable discussion with aging and disability advocates in New Jersey, Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released a proposal to create a new Medicare long-term care benefit. The comprehensive discussion draft, The Medicare Long-Term Care Services and Supports Act, would establish a public benefit within Medicare, designed for everyone regardless of income or where they live, to provide long-term care services and supports. 


The Medicare Long-Term Care Services and Supports Act of 2018 creates a strong federal program within Medicare that will be there for those with substantial long-term care costs when they need care.  More specifically, the discussion draft:

  • Establishes a standard cash benefit within Medicare for anyone who is eligible for Medicare and those under the age of 65 who meet certain disability thresholds.  The benefit would begin after a two-year waiting period that functions as a deductible. The discussion draft also solicits comment on a potential cash deductible alternative for certain beneficiaries.
  • The self-directed benefit could be used towards all long-term services and supports, including nursing facility care, adult daycare programs, home health aide services, personal care services, transportation, and assistance provided by a family caregiver. 
  • Includes incentives for people to seek care at home, the setting where most people want to be, and with family support, while also being available for nursing homes.
  • Relieves overburdened caregivers. This benefit can be used towards family caregivers and respite care.  Caregivers find value in what they do, but may also lose income, other retirement benefits, and career opportunities if they have to cut back on work hours or leave the workforce.

Click here for the text of the discussion draft, here for a section-by-section summary of the discussion draft, and here for a fact sheet. Pallone asks that stakeholders who wish to comment on the contents of this draft please submit to feedback to [email protected] by June 15.”