Long-Term Care Financing Project

About the Project

About 10 million people of all ages need help with basic tasks of daily life. For people who need long-term care, support for community participation and quality of life will require new public policies.

Fundamental are policy initiatives to improve long-term care financing. The need for long-term care is unpredictable and therefore the kind of care that insurance is meant to address. However, neither public nor private insurance protection is adequate. Medicare, which provides health insurance to many who need long-term care, covers very little long-term care. Private insurance for long-term care is growing, but currently reaches only a very small portion of the population. Medicaid, our long-term care safety net, does not protect against financial catastrophe; it finances services only after catastrophe strikes.

We can do better—not only in meeting today’s needs but in meeting the greater needs that will arise from the baby boom generation. To do so will require recognizing that long-term care financing arrangements need not be as they are. The risk can be spread through insurance, just as the risks of needing health care, disability or retirement income are spread.

The purpose of this project is to elevate discussion of policy initiatives to improve long-term care financing that assures access to needed long-term care. To that end, this project will pursue analysis designed to stimulate public policy discussion about current long-term care financing and ways to improve it.

This project is co-directed by Judith Feder, Dean of Public Policy, Georgetown University and Sheila Burke, Undersecretary for American Museums, Smithsonian Institution. An Advisory Group provides guidance. Support for this project is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A message from Judith Feder and Sheila Burke

The Georgetown University Long-Term Care Financing Project is made possible through a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Foundation does not endorse the findings of this or any other independent research or policy project.