CMS DISTRIBUTES $2.5 MILLION FOR LONG TERM CARE COUNSELING
STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS GET GRANTS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. today announced a total of $2.5 million in supplemental grants has been distributed to state health insurance assistance programs (SHIPs) for counseling and assistance on long-term care to Medicare beneficiaries.
“With Baby Boomers quickly approaching retirement age, long-term care is becoming an issue for them as they provide care of their parents and think about their future. CMS understands the need to address the issue and provide education and improve service to Medicare beneficiaries,” said Dr. McClellan.
“We asked applicants to emphasize innovative or expanded long-term care activities that will help provide improved service to more beneficiaries. The grants also help SHIPs prepare staff and volunteers, who are based in the local community, to assist clients who seek more in-depth information on long-term care questions and problems related to publicly funded or private programs.”
Nearly 1,200 local SHIP programs are currently operating, more than a third of them are area agencies on aging. Two-thirds of the 54 SHIPs are sponsored by state agencies on aging and one-third by state insurance departments.
The SHIP basic grant award supports activities that offer assistance and benefit information to consumers on licensed long-term care policies filed with the state insurance commissioner, and other public and private financing options available within a beneficiary’s state.
CMS distributes two types of supplemental grants, enhanced and pilot. The enhanced grant is designed to develop an improved capacity through training to provide information and assistance on the various financing options for long-term care services.
CMS has allocated enhanced supplemental long-term grants totaling $1.56 million toall 45 SHIPs that applied including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funding distribution was based on the SHIP basic grant formula that includes the number of Medicare beneficiaries residing in a state and the state’s percentage of the national beneficiary total.
Pilot long-term care grants, totaling $941,901, were awarded on a competitive basis to SHIPs in Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia. They were distributed based on the results of a technical review to support state-led pilot awareness programs in the states. These campaigns will test possible implementation strategies for creating interest in the need for long-term care financial planning.
With the increased awareness efforts in the five pilot states, it is expected that the demand for SHIP services will increase. As a result, the SHIPs in these states will provide counseling on long-term care planning and financial options to more beneficiaries, get more referrals from a 1-800 number and other sources, and develop more partnerships to carry out the awareness campaign in their state.
The amounts of the pilot grants to the five states are Arkansas, $100,000; Idaho, $75,000; Nevada, $183,971; New Jersey, $232,930; and Virginia, $350,000.