Topeka The state has launched a program to encourage Kansans to buy insurance covering the cost of nursing homes and other long-term care as they age.
Participants in the Long-Term Care Partnership will agree to put off entering the Medicaid program, which covers long-term care for the elderly. But the state will permit them to keep more of their assets when they start receiving Medicaid coverage.
"This program will help Kansans maintain personal responsibility for their health needs while protecting their families' financial stability," said Marcia Nielsen, executive director of the Kansas Health Policy Authority, which administers Medicaid.
The program is possible under a 2005 federal law, and another 14 states have similar programs.
Under the program, Kansans who buy a long-term care insurance will be allowed to keep a dollar in assets for every dollar in benefits paid out, once they exhaust their insurance money. For example, if a policy paid for $100,000 in care, its holder will be allowed to keep $100,000 in assets when entering Medicaid.
While Medicaid covers long-term care for the elderly, they have to consume all but $2,000 of their assets.
Between 50 and 60 companies sell long-term care policies, and some currently qualify for the partnership, according to the Insurance Department.
Policies must protect their holders against inflation and have adequate consumer protection provisions to qualify. Also, the people who buy them must be able to claim an income tax deduction for what they spend.