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Report Describes Picture of Long-Term Care in Massachusetts

By Harry S. Margolis

Securing the Future, a 2010 report of the Massachusetts Long-Term Care Financing Advisory Committee, is full of information and statistics on long-term care in Massachusetts.  Here’s a selection:

  • 630,000 residents, approximately 10% of the population, needed long-term services and supports (LTSS).
  • Between 2005 and 2020, the 65 to 74 cohort was expected to grow 68%, the 75 to 84 group by just 5%, and those over 85 by 21%.
  • In 2007, nursing facility revenue in Massachusetts totaled $3.7 billion; nearly 70% was funded by MassHealth, 14% was funded by Medicare and 17% was funded by private or other payers.
  • In 2008, 46% of MassHealth lengths of stay were one year or less, while 33% were between 1-4 years and 21% were more than 4 years.
  • MassHealth spent an estimated $2.8 billion on LTSS for elders and individuals with disabilities in 2008, with increasing expenditures in community settings.
  • The proportion of MassHealth nursing facility spending to total MassHealth LTSS spending had declined steadily from 73% in FY 2003 to 60% in FY 2008.
  • Much of this spending was not for seniors.  As of August 2008, MassHealth enrollees included approximately 25,000 children with disabilities, 203,000 adults under the age of 65 with disabilities, and 107,000 seniors.
  • However, the majority (76%) of MassHealth institutional spending was for individuals ages 65 and over, while the majority (69%) of MassHealth community spending was for individuals up to age 65 (0-64).
  • In 2004, there were 136,287 people in Massachusetts insured through a long-term care insurance policy, which is more than twice as many as were insured in 1998 (65,928).
  • The average age of the individual policyholder in 2004 was 61.9 years, a four-year decrease from the average of 65.7 years in 1998. Similarly, the average age for a group policy was 47.7 years, versus 55.5 years in 1998.
  • About 6 percent of people who turned age 65 in 2005 were expected to incur out-of-pocket expenditures of $100,000 or more over their remaining lifetimes, and about 12 percent will likely have expenditures from $25,000 to $100,000.

These figures are important because can help individuals, providers and state government plan for future long-term care needs. It would be interesting if the report were updated with new statistics to help prepare for the coming deluge when Baby Boomers start needing LTSS.

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