Healthcare on Brain

Obamacare, Medicare, Long Term Care

During Autumn of 2013, it’s seemingly impossible to avoid the malady one might call “health care on the brain.” 

Consider this:

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) starts October 1.  Details and interpretations are flooding the mainstream news. 

Medicare’s Election Period (aka Open Enrollment) runs October 15th to December 7.  People age 65+ will find their mailboxes overflowing with solicitations.  Their phone calls and email questions to their advisors, EAPs and children will make even those under age 65 keenly aware of the Election Period. 

Among the hundreds of announcements about the above items, it is easy to miss the health care story that deserves widespread focus:  In a recent Harris Interactive/Health Day Poll 64% of American’s think “most people” should buy long term care insurance.  Over 2/3 of Americans are anxious and uncertain about how they’ll meet long term care costs.  However, less than 8% of U.S. adults have bought coverage.

So, while seniors are being deluged with alternative Medicare plan information, it’s important to keep this in mind: the Election Period serves only the subpopulation of beneficiaries who would like to change either their Medicare supplement plan or Medicare Advantage plan.  In addition, seniors don’t need to take notice of Obamacare, as its health insurance exchanges are for people below age 65. 

Similarly, while working-age adults are being messaged to death about Obamacare, they should keep this in mind: working-age adults who have health insurance can ignore the Obamacare rollout!

The Harris/Health Day poll reported that 79% supported tax breaks to help people purchase long term care insurance.  Exactly this type of tax incentive was one of the possible financing solutions included in The Commission on Long-Term Care’s (a federal task force) final report to Congress, issued on September 12, 2013. 

Truth is, for many working Americans and their retired parents, health insurance is a non-issue.  Paying for long term care services seems poised to usurp health insurance as the really big, really significant problem that can easily derail the otherwise best-laid plans.  

In summary, most people would be well-served to ignore the sizzle of Obamacare and Medicare’s Election Period, and instead concentrate on the steak of covering long term care.



Poll info here:

Commission’s web site here (download report from site):