Whether you’re helping a parent or loved one transition to an assisted living facility or are residing in one yourself, you may be concerned about the post-election uncertainty surrounding the health insurance industry. Those who are relying on state Medicaid benefits to pay a portion of assisted living costs may be concerned that these benefits will be cut, particularly after the President-elect has promised to overhaul the health care system by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read on to learn more about some of the changes that could be coming to the ACA, as well as how these may impact one’s ability to pay for assisted living care.
What changes to the ACA are being proposed?
While President-elect Trump has vowed to “repeal Obamacare,” without a filibuster-proof majority in Congress, a full repeal is unlikely. However, there are a number of provisions within the ACA that can be repealed through the budget resolution process without requiring the entire program to be scrapped. In the past, lawmakers have attempted to remove many of the tax penalties associated with the ACA, from the tax on “Cadillac plans” to the fines assessed to those without healthcare coverage, so these changes seem fairly likely.
Other potential changes to the healthcare system could include changes in the way states are reimbursed for Medicaid — expanding or reducing the state funds available for Medicaid coverage. However, it’s unlikely that reform efforts will eliminate the provisions of the ACA that protect those with pre-existing conditions or that eliminate annual and lifetime caps on benefits.
How could changes to the ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid programs impact one’s ability to pay for assisted living?
Although Medicare doesn’t generally pay for assisted living, its coverage of health-related and prescription costs can free up the funds you use to pay your living expenses. Those who utilize Medicaid funds to pay the medical costs (although not room and board) for assisted living may also be concerned, as well as those who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare or Medicaid but who use health insurance purchased from the federal exchange.
Fortunately, as with just about all else in government, change is slow — so there’s no need to worry yet. While it’s always wise to do your own research into proposed changes to healthcare laws just to prepare yourself for what may lie ahead, you should receive plenty of notice before any of the benefits you currently receive are altered. You may also want to investigate alternative payment methods in the event your income is reduced, such as a reverse mortgage on a home you own, cashing in a whole life insurance policy, or purchasing an annuity payable to your assisted living facility.