LONG TERM CARE: Congress Approves Insurance Measure
Just before adjourning for its August recess, the House and Senate approved a measure to provide long term care insurance to federal employees, military personnel and retirees, the Washington Post reports. "This is a great day for federal employees and retirees," House Government Reform civil service subcommittee Chair Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) said of the bill's passage, adding, "Someday soon, every American will have a chance to buy affordable long term care." Under the Long Term Care Security Act, the Office of Personnel Management will begin negotiations with insurance companies to determine what options will be offered to eligible beneficiaries. Although participants will pay the full premium, government officials predict that insurance rates will be 15% to 20% lower than market price. According to research conducted by the American Council of Life Insurers, the cost of most long term care, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home care and adult day care, will rise fourfold by 2010. The new program will be open to at least 13 million Americans, including active and retired federal employees and their spouses, parents and in-laws. Initial enrollment will range between 300,000 and 600,000 participants. The bill has been sent to President Clinton, who is expected to sign it into law (Barr, 7/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.