Long-Term Care for Growing Senior Population Putting Major Financial Strain on Medicaid Programs

    Publisher's note: This post, by Brian Balfour, was originally published in the Healthcare section of Civitas's online edition.

    This N&O article takes a closer look at the financial challenges presented by the swelling ranks of senior citizens and the rising costs of long-term care. This issue is a key issue that states need to evaluate as it puts significant pressure on Medicaid costs.

  • State Medicaid directors know all too well about the enormous challenges they'll face as 75.4 million boomers - now ages 52 to 70 - grow old.
  • "The impact is going to be huge," said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. "While the face of Medicaid is pregnant women, kids and low-income working families, that's not where most of the money is going."
  • Nearly two-thirds of all Medicaid spending on services is for seniors and people with disabilities, who together make up only a quarter of those enrolled in Medicaid.

    I wrote in 2012 about this issue, and how long-term care was already costing the state's Medicaid program more than $1 billion by 2008, and was rising fast. A couple options state legislators could consider to stem NC's rising long-term care Medicaid costs include tightening up asset exemptions in the eligibility rules and to incentivize people to purchase long-term care insurance as an option to relying on Medicaid.

    The growing senior population requiring a growing share of Medicaid dollars is another issue to consider for advocates wanting to expand Medicaid in NC. How will all this be paid for?

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