The American Health Care Act, with its proposed cuts to Medicaid, could have a major impact on elderly people's ability to get much-needed care.
According to an article from Forbes, Medicaid has a wider reach than many people believe. While it is often seen as an insurance program for low-income individuals, the reality is that more than 2 million elderly people rely on this program for help covering the high cost of long-term care. It is not just poor people receiving Medicaid. Many members of the middle class get help through this program.
The cost of long-term care
As of 2016, the median cost of a nursing home stay was more than $82,000 annually. The median cost of 44 hours of weekly support from a home health aide was more than $46,000 annually. With those numbers in mind, it is easy to understand how these expenses can be a crunch even for people who earned good incomes and have some savings.
Unfortunately, according to the article, the proposed cuts could lead to some serious issues. Eligibility requirements to get Medicaid could narrow, meaning that people who could truly benefit from Medicaid may not be able to get it. The cuts could also lead to reduced payment to the providers, which means less money for the workers who are already receiving a fairly low wage but do so to take care of elderly people.
If you or your parents are post-retirement age or worry about how to pay for nursing care, learn about Medicaid planning. The biggest fear is that the changes to Medicaid will take full effect around the time that many Baby Boomers will need in-home care or nursing home help.