A new bill in the state could offer consumers a more affordable form of LTC coverage.
Seniors living in Maine and who are reliant on the MaineCare program, which is currently strained for cash, may find that a new opportunity is opening up to help them to obtain long term care coverage – which is traditionally quite expensive – through life insurance policies, should lawmakers decide to pass a new bill.
This bill does have a notable amount of support already and is currently under debate in the Legislature.
The life insurance for long term care bill was sponsored by Senator Margaret Craven (D-Lewiston) and considers a way for seniors to pay for their LTC which is frequently overlooked. It is meant to assist older residents of the state who may find that they will need to pay for the expensive costs of nursing home care or assisted living (in home or in a facility) out of their own pockets.
This bill would let those seniors turn over their life insurance policies for MaineCare qualification.
The MaineCare program is the version of Medicaid that is currently operating within the state. Should this bill pass, it would alter the rules for eligibility to this program. Traditionally, applicants would first have been required to have depleted their own financial resources, falling back on this coverage when they have no other option. The ownership of a life insurance policy could stop a senior from qualifying, under the current regulations, as this may be considered to be an asset.
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However, with LD 1092, seniors would be able to avoid signing up for MaineCare or at least delay it by providing those individuals with additional ways to cover their long term care needs on their own. A public hearing about the bill was held on Wednesday. It would mean the creation of a Department of Health and Human Services program – the agency overseeing MaineCare – which would assist state residents with this process.
Among those options would be the use of the life insurance policy in exchange for the coverage, as opposed to having to cash it in, which is a situation that typically provides the policyholder with only a fraction of its potential worth.