Doctor touching LONG - TERM CARE sign on virtual screenWe can think about public policy in at least three ways: the way it used to be, the way it is, and the way it could be.

Paying for long-term care has never been easy. These days, for those who make the right choices (and make them early enough), it’s manageable. But those who wait too long must turn to crisis management strategies to fund the care they need.

Forbes describes that reality like this:

“Today’s ineffective system… often leaves families impoverished and reliant on Medicaid. In many cases, it results in poor care that leads to dangerous medical events, such as falls or infections.”

One of the most popular forms of protection for future healthcare needs is long-term care insurance. But few people carry it and, even for those who do, the coverage only goes so far.

According to Forbes, though, things could be different. Researchers recently used new and sophisticated computer models to test various long-term care insurance models and see how well they would work when rolled out nationally.

As it turns out, while none of the proposed models provided a perfect solution, all of them produce better results than the insurance system that is currently in place.

According to Forbes, researchers looked at a voluntary insurance model (financed with premiums and including subsidies for low-income people) and mandatory programs (funded through payroll tax hikes).

Each program would pay out a daily cash benefit of $100 in 2015, with an annual increase of 3% built in. The benefits would begin as soon as the insured person developed a need for them, though different plans would come with different waiting periods and different durations.

Note that the cash benefit differs from the model currently in use in America, which only provides reimbursement for certain approved expenses.

Every model offers a set of pros and cons, but there is at least widespread support for the idea that the current system could use improvement. (If you’d like to dive into the details of each proposal, there is a scholarly breakdown available in the Health Affairs journal.)

At Bennett Watson Trust, Estate & Elder Law, LLC, we believe in looking at long-term care insurance as only one piece of a much broader puzzle. Imperfect as it is, the existing system can confer valuable benefits. There are many other steps you and your family can take, though, to protect yourselves from the care costs that you might face someday. Our office can help you take those steps. Contact our Valdosta elder law attorneys today to learn more.