Minnesota’s Aging Population –The attached article is important as it focuses on the pending crisis to social and health services due to the demographics in Minnesota.
The focus is to help keep Minnesota’s aging population of seniors in their own homes as opposed to having them go into other institutions. Not only is staying at home with support important to the senior themselves, it can be a large cost savings when compared to other alternatives. Also, if a person can stay independent enough to stay at home there are more beds and staff available to care for the population that has no alternative. Age wave threatens health careby Frank Jossi Special to Finance and Commerce Experts see improving Minnesota’s long-term care funding as crucial
To deal with the “silver tsunami” of retirees descending on Minnesota and the nation, government policymakers will have to bolster current programs and create new ones to help families and senior citizens pay future costs for long-term care.
That was the conclusion of long-term care experts who met Wednesday in Minneapolis at a University of Minnesota conference to debate and discuss how to approach the issue. Ideas offered ranged from federal long-term care insurance to greater integration of care for patients while keeping them in homes rather than institutions. And other states may want to look to Minnesota, as one expert described the North Star state as the most progressive in the nation on issues of long-term care financing.
Cal Ludeman, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, laid out the long-term care problem. In Minnesota, the number of residents 85 and older will double by 2030 and then double again by 2050, totaling 323,603, according to a DHS report.
More Stats on the Aging Population
By 2030, Minnesota will have more than 1.5 million adults older than 65, the DHS predicts. The Congressional Budget Office, moreover, reports more than 55 percent of seniors 85 and older require long-term care in the U.S.
Even today, many families feel the influence of aging parents and family members. A recent survey by one of the conference’s sponsors, the Minnesota Health & Housing Alliance, revealed more than half the respondents knew someone receiving aging services, and 32 percent indicated they were involved in planning services for a family member or friend. DHS has several programs intended to improve long-term care options, from the Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership to funding for a community service demonstration project that will test innovative approaches to long-term care. The partnership allows Minnesotans to buy long-term care policies in return for being able to protect assets if they have to seek medical assistance in the future.
Private long-term health insurance currently only pays for four percent of all care in the United States, he said. An approach on a national scale involving potentially all adult Americans in a risk pool will be more economical for most people than private long-term insurance, he added.
The idea has made progress. U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, (D-Mass), introduced it in the Senate and a companion piece of legislation has found a sponsor in the House, Minnix said. Germany has had a long-term insurance program since the 1990s, and the result has been more people able to receive care at home because the insurance offers that choice.
Other speakers offered many suggestions. Jan Malcolm, CEO of the Courage Center in Minneapolis, argued for less “siloed” dollars for care. The system’s fragmentation causes providers to cash reimbursements rather than always focus on providing the best care. Her approach would encourage more flexibility by insurers that would allow them to pay into a flexible pool for services used by their customers.
Peter Nelson, a policy fellow at the Minneapolis-based Center of the American Experiment, suggested a reformed immigration policy to allow more workers into the country, which could help create more jobs and produce greater government revenue to pay for long-term care. The U.S. will see fewer than three workers for every retired worker by 2030, a situation expected to create enormous financial strains on the government, he said.
Other ideas proposed by speakers included tax credits for families providing long-term care to family members, tax incentives for people to buy long-term care insurance and government financing programs that allow for choice by patients receiving care.
Long-term care reform usually only happens when 18 to 20 percent of a nation’s population is elderly, according to Dan Lindh, president and CEO of Presbyterian Homes and Services in Roseville. Though the U.S. has not reached that percentage just yet, Lindh said: “Change is going to come – it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please contact our firm for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member. To contact Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore, directly please send an email to KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com, or call Ken at 612-743-9048.