The future of long-term care

By April 19, 2011Uncategorized

As you have probably seen in the news lately, the nation is facing some tough choices with programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  In addition to the federal budgetary problems we are seeing, Arizona has its individual struggles as well.  We have seen several proposals for ways to deal with these problems, many of which have been directly related to Arizona Medicaid.  And although we have yet to see a proposal that would cut ALTCS Medicaid, an examination of the data on long-term health care costs seems to indicate that both our nation and our state will be faced with some even tougher choices in years to come.

A recent study by Deloitte made some frightening predictions about long-term health care costs over the next couple of decades.  While the study did not look specifically at Arizona Medicaid, it predicted that some states could see long-term health care costs take up more than 20 percent of their operating budgets.  The study did not suggest that we tighten up Medicaid eligibility rules, but rather, it suggested that we look at ways to economize and make Medicaid more efficient.

The study offered several suggestions, which could well be quite instructive for Arizona Medicaid.  First, it suggested that Medicare and Medicaid coordinate benefits for those who are dual-eligible in order to prevent inefficiencies.  Second, it suggested that making long-term care more community-centered might be a good idea, which is an idea that the Arizona Medicaid program has already embraced.  Third, it suggested that Medicaid provide members with more individual choice.  And fourth, it suggested that Medicaid improve its service delivery models.

Arizona Medicaid, like other state Medicaid programs is facing serious budget concerns.  It will be interesting to see how legislators and policymakers react to this pending crises in months and years to come.  At an individual level, however, Medicaid remains the largest safety net for those who require long-term health care.  As such, we should hope for changes to the program that will preserve its fundamental purpose.

For more information on Arizona Medicaid contact an Elder Law attorney today at JacksonWhite for a free consultation. (480) 818-6912