How Can We Improve Long-Term Care Financing?

Howard Gleckman

IB#8-8

Introduction

The system for financing and delivering long-term care in the United States is deeply flawed.  While families and government spend more than $200 billion annually for such services, many frail elderly and disabled fail to receive the care they need.  This problem is expected to become more severe as the Baby Boom generation ages.

While experts generally agree that the existing system is inefficient and ineffective, they disagree on how it should be reformed.  This brief, the fourth and final in a series, will review several options for change.  These options include enhancing private long-term care insurance, replacing the current welfare-based system with a public social insurance program, and introducing a hybrid public-private system.  None of these alternatives is optimal, but each has significant advantages over the current system.