Hidden Gift from Congress Families Don't Know About
New, buried gem in health care reform helps Americans pay for elderly care
Towson, MD --(PR.com)-- It made few headlines, caused precious little debate and most families don't even know about it. But, hidden in the health care overhaul, Congress gave America a little gift that could save families big in the end. It's called the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act), the nation's first public long-term care insurance program that deducts from Americans' paychecks now to pay later for the often crushing costs of long-term care.
Currently, an estimated 10 million Americans have trouble performing daily living tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating, and most of these people live at home, not in nursing homes or other institutions. Yet, most are painfully unprepared to pay for non-medical care that is not typically covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
"This is where CLASS Act truly saves the day," says Peter Ross, CEO of Senior Helpers, the nation's fastest growing provider of in-home senior care. "We find that the vast majority of people need some kind of long-term help but they don't save for it. This is an easy way to help Americans save for their future that won't take a huge bite out of their paychecks."
Any working person over the age of 18 can receive long-term care benefits from CLASS once they have paid premiums for five years (and have actively worked for three of those five). Once a person loses the ability to perform a number of daily living activities like dressing, bathing and eating, they can become eligible to receive benefits.
"Young people sometimes assume they are going to be healthy all their lives, and that's not at all the case," says 92-year-old Robert Bard of Phoenix, Ariz., who pays for a Senior Helpers caregiver to live in his home and help him round the clock, seven days per week. "I've had some injuries and health problems in the past, and I couldn't live on my own now. I didn't do much planning ahead for what I'd need or think much about the cost years ago, but I need in-home care and couldn't get along without it."
Quick Facts about the CLASS Act:
- The bill was signed into law in late March as a part of the health care package that will take effect Jan. 1, 2011.
- The CLASS Act will allow all working people more than 18 years old to opt in through automatic payroll deductions that will later pay for long-term care if they need it.
- All participants must pay premiums for a five year "vesting" period and be actively at work for 3 of those years before receiving benefits.
- Once a person becomes eligible to receive benefits, they will continue to receive benefits for as long as they need long-term care, whether they are elderly with health problems and will only need assistance for 3 years or 25 and have a snowboarding accident that causes them to need care for 60 years.
- Premiums have not been officially decided, but estimated monthly premiums range from $61 to $123 a month to receive about $75 dollars a day (no less than $50) in benefits. The cost of premiums will vary and change over time as participation changes – the more people participate, the less each person will have to pay.
About Senior Helpers:
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has 300 franchises in 42 states and one in Canada offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care.