Health Reform and Family Caregivers


Health Reform and Family Caregivers

Yesterday on Table Talk, Howard Bedlin, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Council on Aging (NCOA), joined us for a primer on how health reform will affect family caregivers and older adults. (You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.)

A few highlights of the legislation:

Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Provision (CLASS) creates a new national long-term insurance programs. Full- and part-time employees can contribute through payroll deductions. After a five-year vesting period, recipients have access to a cash benefit (average of $75 per day) with no lifetime limit. The benefit can be used to reimburse the family caregiver, hire home health aides or make modifications in the home. The provision will be implemented in 2012 or 2013.

Spousal Impoverishment protection for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services beneficiaries protects the assets of the caregiving spouse when care is provided at home. The protection currently exists for caregiving spouses when a caree resides in a nursing home. This provision will take effect in 2014.

In addition, the legislation sets aside funds for geriatric education centers to provide training for professional and family caregivers. And, Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible for a free annual wellness visit, a great benefit for both older adult and family caregiver. It's unclear when these two provisions take effect (the sooner the better!).


National Council on Aging

Kaiser Family Foundation


Alzheimer's Association