Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good and Bad News on Aging in Place

Government funding for programs to support aging in place was still growing through 2008, but much more slowly than in the past. At the same time, states were making it harder to enroll, limiting benefits, and forcing people to wait longer before they could participate in these programs. And all that was happening before Medicaid home care faced major budget cuts in the face of the Great Recession and the collapse of state tax revenues.
A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured found that while overall spending on home and community-based services grew from $17 billion in 1999 to $45 billion in 2009, the rate of growth slowed sharply after 2004. Annual home and community payments rose by an average of more than 13 percent from 1999 to 2004, but by less than 9 percent since. And in 2008, funding increased by only about 7 percent.
Despite this shift to home-based services, less than half of the program’s dollars were geared to these benefits in 2009, when 57 percent of Medicaid dollars still went to nursing home care.

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