As the U.S. population ages in the coming decades, it will increase demand on long-term care services, and many questions remain about how to finance a viable system, according to a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank has created a new initiative to support and finance long-term care nationwide. The number of Americans requiring long-term care will more than double over the next 35 years, reaching 27 million by the year 2050, the report notes. Medicaid spending on long-term care will grow at a rate of 6 percent per year through the end of the decade, far faster than the current rate of spending growth in other facets of healthcare. Overall spending as a proportion of gross domestic product will reach 3 percent by 2050, up from the current 1.3 percent. And fewer than one-third of Americans have enough assets to cover a single year's stay in a nursing home, according to the report.
Several states now shift their Medicaid long-term care patients into managed care programs. And a recent Congressionally-authorized panel was unable to reach consensus on how to pay for long-term care services in the future.