Arizona Long Term Care Costs, Partnership & Insurance Information
The number of family or informal caregivers is increasing alarmingly in Arizona as more and more senior Arizonans demand for long term care.
According to a study that was conducted by AARP, back in 2009 Arizona had about 1.2 million informal caregivers who shouldered the responsibility of caring for their elderly or disabled loved ones who required assistance with their activities of daily living (ADL) - dressing, bathing, transferring, etc. - due to functional limitations or cognitive impairment.The total value of services that they delivered amounted to a whopping $450 billion, which is actually more than the economic value of paid in-home care and facility services that same year.
However, Long Term Care goes beyond the provision of assistance with ADLs. It also includes skilled care (nursing care and physical therapy), hospice care, personal care, social care, and many others. Many Arizonans prefer to remain in their homes and be surrounded with family and friends.
According to a statewide survey compiled by Genworth Financial, a leading global insurance company, the average annual costs of private nursing homes are $81,030 while assisted living facilities are $39,600. Listed below are the 2012 median costs of Long Term Care in key areas in Arizona:
|Region||Homemaker Services Hourly Rate
|Home Health Aide Hourly Rate
|Assisted Living Facility Monthly Rate
|Nursing Home Daily Rate
|Nursing Home Daily Rate
|Lake Havasu City||$21||$21||$3,390||$168||$225|
|Rest of State||$19||$19||$3,280||$175||$209|
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On the surface informal caregiving may seem all right as family members are, after all, expected to care for one another.Looking deeper into the issue, though, there is a big problem that has to be resolved before it is too late.
Informal caregiving results in wage loss, no health insurance coverage, no Social Security benefits, mediocre to poor health care on the part of the care recipient, and family caregivers are at risk of requiring higher levels of care, as they are likely to develop serious health problems while they are in the process of providing care to infirm, sick or disabled family members.Â
Many families in Arizona pay for the above-mentioned services through private pay. Arizona tops AARP's list of states with the highest percentage of uninsured full-time workers and dependents for the year 2000. Many turn to Medicare for assistance. However, Medicare may only provide limited coverage, i.e. limited skilled nursing care and services while recuperating from injuries and illnesses. Therefore, many caregiving families pay out-of-pocket and exhaust their life's savings and resources until they become eligible to apply to the State Medicaid program.
Arizona Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Program
The Arizona Long Term Care Partnership Program is relatively new. The State Plan Amendment or SPA 08-003 - Long Term Care Partnership Program that allows Arizona to participate in the Long Term Care Partnership Program was approved November 14, 2008, with effective date of July 1, 2008.
The Arizona Long Term Care Partnership Program is a partnership program between the State of Arizona and private Long Term Care insurance companies, providing asset disregard when the policyholder seeks eligibility for Medicaid assistance.
The Long Term Care Partnership in Arizona is administered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS. AHCCCS (pronounced "access") is the State of Arizona's Medicaid program and it has two branches. One of these is the Arizona Long Term Care System or ALTCS, a program that provides Long Term Care services to financially eligible senior Arizonans and residents who are blind or disabled. ALTCS requires resources do not exceed $2,000 for single applicants and $22,880 for married couples. Resources include bank accounts, real property that you do not live in, cash value of some insurance policies, cash, stocks, bonds certificates of deposits, and non-exempt vehicles.
Arizona Long Term Care Partnership Policies
A policy that meets the requirements of a qualified State Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership is termed "Partnership policy." It provides a unique Asset Disregard Benefit wherein the policyholder's assets equal to the amount of insurance benefits paid by his qualified policy are disregarded during Medicaid eligibility process should the policyholder require continued coverage.
Long Term Care insurance policies must include the following features to be considered as a Partnership policy:
- Asset Disregard Benefit
- Inflation Protection - This benefit provides for increase in benefit to cope with increases in future Long Term Care costs. Partnership policies must meet requirements outlined in section 191 7(b)(l)(C)(iii)(IV) of the Social Security Act.
- Tax Qualified Policy Feature - A Partnership policies is a qualified Long Term Care insurance policy as defined in section 7702B(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and is therefore under federal tax law.
- Issue Date - The policy must be issued not earlier than the effective date of the Partnership program which is July 1, 2008.
- Residency Status - A policyholder must be a resident of the State of Arizona when coverage first became effective.
- The Partnership program further requires that insurance companies issuing Partnership policies to provide a report of amount of benefits paid, including a notification when the policy terminates.
Obtaining a Partnership Policy
The Partnership program is relatively new. You may inquire directly with the insurance company if they offer Partnership policies. You may also visit the website of the Arizona Department of Insurance. The State Department strongly recommends comparison shopping and verifying with the Department's database before purchasing long term insurance policies, whether Partnership or non-Partnership ones. Agents must complete training in accordance with the Department's licensing requirements.
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