The Wish Act – Appropriately Named

Another attempt at long-term care funding. The WISH Act: Well-Being Insurance for Seniors to be at Home.

Do we need it? Sure. Only 10% of Americans aged 50 and older have long-term care insurance. Yet most of us will experience a long-term care event once we reach age 65 and beyond. Average long-term care expense for older adults is $250,000 and most of the funding comes from income, savings, liquidating investments or reverse mortgages. In other words, personal assets.

We’ve seen the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 mandate Partnership training for insurance producers selling long-term care insurance. This so consumers would be educated on the advantages of added protection from Medicaid resource reduction requirements through Partnership policies.

Then came the tax advantages of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 with 1035 exchange provisions to fund hybrid long-term care insurance. And who can forget the CLASS Act, Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, plopped into the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and later repealed as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

Think tanks studying the issue agree on one thing. The cost of long-term care must be a partnership between public funding and private insurance.

The issue of long-term care has been around for a long, long time. You may remember the name Claude Pepper. In 1976 he was elected chairman of the House Select Committee on Aging. On the cover of Time magazine in April 1983, he was called the champion of the elderly.

Today, we see states implementing new taxes for W2 workers if they do not own private long-term care insurance. Here we see a proposal for a new federally mandated trust fund.

Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03) suggests his bill will invigorate the long-term care insurance market and importantly educate consumers about long-term care. Click here to read more about it (opens in PDF).

Education programs funded by the Feds have been tried before. Not even half of the states participated. Our wish is for a better outcome this time. Time will tell if the WISH Act is just more wishful thinking.