The Democrats have proposed the Lifeline/Access for Caregivers Act, a plan based on the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s community health care program. The idea is to make it easier for caregivers to afford insurance coverage by streamlining regulations and opening up additional federal dollars for the program. The House of Representatives passed the measure in 2016, but the Senate was unable to follow suit.
The ACA created a reinsurance program, which helps insurers cover higher-cost customers. House Democrats claim the program has been a lifesaver for retirees, including caregivers, and that the program should be expanded. Under the ACA, the Federal Government also added a long-term care insurance subsidy for caregivers.
The Democrats claim they can turn $1.5 billion from the reinsurance program into an extra $1.5 billion to cover costs for the Access to Caregivers Act over a four-year period. This is because, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the program previously accounted for almost 30% of the insurer’s total premiums for long-term care coverage. To bring the program up to scale with the rest of the market, both the White House and Congress had to approve more money, which is why they put it in the current appropriations bill.
The health care bill increases the subsidies for Medicaid-eligible long-term care insurance companies to $4.8 billion over the next four years to prevent providers from leaving the insurance market. Also, the bill calls for an additional $2.4 billion in costs that the health care bill would have been unable to pay out.
The measure also calls for better reimbursement for in-home nurses, which would allow more providers to give home-care services. By extending Medicaid to provide more care to Medicaid beneficiaries, long-term care costs will be lower and more people will be able to afford the cost of long-term care services.
Despite a strong showing in the presidential election and popular support for the Affordable Care Act, the Democrats’ Caregivers Act doesn’t have the ear of President Trump. The president has said he wants Congress to write a new bill that fixes the ACA, which he has accused of failing to bring premiums under control. He has also refused to sign any amendments that would add to the costs of the existing bill.
In 2016, the Obama administration released new regulations that allowed people to use the individual insurance market to purchase a higher value plan than the current limits. During his campaign, Trump promised to “repeal and replace” the ACA. Earlier this year, Trump said he would replace the healthcare law with “something terrific” but no details have been released.
According to the ACA, the cost of a long-term care plan must have at least $8,077 for a single person, $13,478 for a couple, and $18,750 for a family plan. The bill also requires that the caregivers be only one’s closest caregiver or that the person must live longer than 90 days.