Thomas Suozzi (D-Ny.) – the representative for the U.S. introduced the Well-Being Insurance for Seniors to be at Home (WISH) Act on Thursday. The Act seeks to help the seniors get long term-access to their care.
According to Suozzi, “We have a storm coming, with the number of disabled elders expected to double in the coming years. Fewer family caregivers are available for these aging Americans, and the market for long-term care insurance is not currently sufficient to address these demographic challenges.”
The legislation is announced in line with the Biden Government’s focus on home- and community-based services.
The WISH Act is focused on the shifting demographics in the U.S. In the upcoming 40 years, people aged 65 or above will increase by comprehending Suozzi’s comment more than twice. According to the Urban Institute, the count will touch 80 million by 2040.
According to the legislation, “Long-term care insurance is rarely available, and premiums have pushed plan-holders to drop out. Only 6% of seniors had any private coverage for [long-term care insurance] expenses in 2018, leaving almost all middle-class American families to exhaust their nest eggs and become impoverished before qualifying for Medicaid.”
The Act, if passed, would lead to the creation of a new federal long-term care insurance trust fund. This will enable the seniors with care aids the way they like. Currently, seniors in New York can avail themselves of caregiver contracts to let their family members take care of them and get paid in return. But the WISH act will provide more aid to seniors with regards to their care.
A payroll tax of 0.3% will be levied on employers and workers to fund the benefit under the WISH Act.
The Act will also let private insurance firms offer budget-friendly coverage plans for the elderly.
If passed, the Act would leverage a portion of public support. This would take away the aspect of long-term care from Medicaid and provide the elderly the liberty to utilize the funds their way.
“The WISH Act would save the Medicaid program and millions of Americans from financial ruin would allow people to age at home with dignity, and would create millions of good-paying, middle-class jobs in the home health care industry,” as per Suozzi’s words.
The WISH Act is a part of the Long-Term Care Trust Act that came into effect in Washington in 2019. People of Washington need to pay into a long-term care program through means of an employee payroll tax.
The ACT is being supported by LeadingAge – a Washington, D.C.-based association of nonprofit aging services providers.
Since the day it was passed, the Washington law has enabled the residents to access domestic care aid that leads to their well-being.
According to a statement by Katie Smith Sloan, president, and CEO of LeadingAge, “This legislation recognizes a simple reality: We’re all growing older.”
She further said, “Each of us, if we’re lucky, will live well into our eighth or ninth decade of life. And the fact is many Americans from all walks of life across this country will need some kind of help beyond what our families can provide. Right now, millions of family members and friends are struggling to balance the demands of caring for loved ones — and are increasingly stressed, stretched, and in unsustainable situations.”
According to the last Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the monthly median cost for home health aide services in the U.S was $4,576 in 2020. This study was based on 44 hours of care per week. Moreover, the monthly median cost for a private nursing home room was $8,821.