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Long-Term Care for Seniors in Missouri

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Based on the study conducted in 2007, there are approximately 86,000 elders in Missouri aged 65 and above, suffering from serious illnesses and disabilities that most likely entail long term care. Reportedly, Missouri is equipped with nursing home facilities that made the state grab the fifth place for the highest nursing facility beds in United States.

Individuals have used out-of-pocket expenses for long term care, and long term care insurance companies provide only a small portion of these expenditures. The majority or 65% of elders rely on home care or informal care givers due to lack of help from Medicaid or Medicare and very few can afford the high costs of these services.

Medicaid bears the brunt of long-term care expenditures because the program is the primary source of funding for health care. In 2005, Missouri had an estimated 23 percent of Medicaid spending, ranking Missouri 43rd among the 50 states with high LTC Medicaid expenditures. In 2005, there are 80,000 Missourians age 65 and above who used Medicaid Insurance to finance long term care costs. Unfortunately, Medicaid does not cover long term care, and only pays for acute illnesses with short duration. On the other hand, Medicaid will pay for institutional and home-based care for shorter period of time.

In response to the growing need for long-term care, the state of Missouri coalesced with private insurance providers to create a partnership program. The Missouri Long Term Care Partnership Program was initiated on August 1, 2008 to fulfil the requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. This program is the participation of private insurance companies and the state government – the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration (DIFP). The Missouri Medicaid Program (administered by Missouri Department of Social Services: Family Support Division) and the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program or CLAIM have their share in assisting Medicaid and LTC planning.

With ever-increasing Missouri long term care costs, the partnership program works with high hope of encouraging people to invest on LTC services rather than heavy dependence on the state’s Medicaid program.

The most distinct feature of partnership program is the asset protection. Normally, people have to deplete their finances to qualify for Medicaid assets; however with partnership program, they may retain the assets they wish to have, but remain eligible for Medicaid benefits. It uses the dollar-for-dollar protection model, wherein every dollar in the policy that pays for the benefits is equal to the dollar of the amount of assets that will not be counted for Medicaid eligibility.

Another feature is the inflation protection. Recipients below the age 65 at the time of purchase should receive 5 percent compound annual protection; however, if the individual is against this rule, a minimum of 3 percent or changes on the consumer price index (CPI) must then apply..

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