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The following statement was released today by Donald Young MD Interim President of the Health Insurance Association of America HIAA For Americas 77 million baby boomers paying future long-term care costs remains as their largest looming expense According to the Bureau of the Census in 2020 one out of every six Americans will be age 65 or older roughly 20 million more seniors than today Furthermore by 2020 the number of Americans 85 and older the people most likely to use long-term care will double to seven million and double again to 14 million by 2040 Meanwhile the national average annual cost of a nursing home stay is about 50000 These demographics underscore the importance of todays hearing by the Senate Aging Committee Clearly Americans must be able to protect themselves against often devastating long-term care costs Equally clearly private long-term care insurance can play a crucial role by allowing Americans to plan for these future expenses One way to encourage Americans to plan for future long-term care costs is to make it easier for them to purchase long-term care insurance Survey data show that providing tax relief for long-term care premiums is the single most important step the government could take to help people pay for long-term care Accordingly HIAA strongly supports bipartisan legislation The Long-Term Care Retirement Security Act of 2001 S 627HR 831 that would provide Americans with federal tax relief for long-term care insurance premiums and a 3000 annual tax credit for long-term caregivers Furthermore federal tax relief for long-term care insurance premiums would pay for itself by generating future savings in Medicaid spending We commend Senator Breaux for addressing these important issues and for focusing public attention on this pressing need We look forward to working with him with other Members of Congress and with the Bush Administration to help Americans plan for and protect themselves against future long-term care costs
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