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Utah Lawmakers Consider Partnership to Encourage Long-Term Care Insurance

Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would encourage citizens to buy private long-term care insurance. More than 35 states already have this type of public-private partnership.   

Utah insurance broker Craig Oberle told the state Health and Human Services committee that people don’t like to think about long term care, and how much it might cost.

“We all know the baby boom generation and what’s happening, it’s an absolute tsunami that’s coming,” Oberle said.

Long-term care in Utah costs about $67,000 a year on average, and Oberle says that number is rising quickly. The bulk of those costs - more than 80 percent - are paid for by Medicaid. Oberle thinks Utah should put in place a partnership that incentivizes Utahns to buy long term care insurance. 

“Partnerships help ease the burden on state Medicaid budgets. Current Medicaid budgets are simply not equipped to handle the growing, long-term care needs for our aging populations. We must look to innovative solutions that combine public and private resources. Partnerships will raise awareness about long-term care insurance, and send a strong message that the state is committed to helping its residents prepare and plan for their future,” Oberle said.

The partnership proposed would allow the state to disregard assets in determining Medicaid eligibility. So those citizens who have bought into private long term care insurance, can preserve assets and still qualify for Medicaid should they need it later on. Utah lawmakers will consider putting forth a bill in the next legislative session.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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