I recently introduced a package of legislation to help ensure high-quality long-term care for America’s seniors. The three bills would make long-term care policies more transparent, help ensure seniors receive the benefits promised by those policies, and assist families who care for aging family members.
Long-term care is becoming increasingly important for seniors across the country, and it is critical that they and their families have access to the resources and information needed to best plan their care. These bills will help ensure that long-term care programs are easy to navigate and will help families better care for their loved ones.
The three bills are intended to help improve long-term care for seniors. The Long-Term Care Insurance Consumer Right-to-Know Act would help consumers understand exactly what is covered in their long-term care policies. This legislation will require insurance companies to provide a one-page, standardized disclosure form to consumers after the purchase of a long-term care insurance policy. This will simplify the product for consumers and help to avoid confusion over the details of the benefits of long-term care policies.
The Long-Term Care Integrity Act would protect consumers who have purchased long-term care insurance and are seeking claims on their policies. While some nine million Americans have already purchased long-term care insurance policies, there have been growing complaints about the refusal of insurance companies to pay claims. The legislation calls for the creation of an independent, third-party review board to address the denial of appropriate and timely benefits by insurance companies.
The Americans Giving Care to Elders (AGE) Act, introduced with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), would establish a federal tax credit to assist with the costs of caring for an aging family member. A study found that the out-of-pocket costs for family caregivers average about $5,500 per year. To help offset these costs, this legislation would allow families to qualify for a tax credit up to $1,200 per year. The AGE Act also establishes a central clearinghouse for best practices and promising innovations to support families in their caregiving role, and provides increased funding to federal caregiver support efforts.