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Justice in Aging: How The American Rescue Plan Helps Older Adults
More than 45% of Americans over 65 have trouble meeting their basic needs. As a new administration works to provide COVID-19 relief to older adults, many of who are reliant on Medicaid funding for their health care, including long-term care, a fifth COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319), was signed into law totaling $1.9 trillion on Mar. 11, 2021.
The law is expected to significantly improve health care access and increase economic security for older adults due to the pandemic. Medicaid is the funder for most long-term care in the United States, whether at home or in an institution. An analysis provided by Justice in Aging, an organization committed to fighting senior poverty through the law, outlines the significant provisions impacting older adults, including Illinois nursing home residents and long-term care patients.
- Medicaid HCBS: The law includes a 10% increase in federal Medicaid funding to states totaling $12.7 billion specifically for home and community-based services (HCBS), including behavioral health. States must use the increased funding to supplement, not supplant, HCBS programs and services in effect as of Apr. 1, 2021.
- Nursing Homes: Includes funding for states to create strike teams for resident and employee safety in nursing facilities ($250 million) and funding for Health and Human Services to develop and disseminate protocols to prevent or mitigate COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities ($200 million).
- Increased Vaccination Funding: Enhances funding for vaccination efforts, including targeted funding to reach communities of color, tribes, rural areas, and other underserved communities for establishing vaccine sites across the country and deploying mobile vaccination units.
- Medicaid Expansion Incentive: The law would provide any state that decides to expand Medicaid an additional 5% increase in federal funding for two years for older adults and other populations states are already required to cover. This is in addition to the 90% federal funding for the expansion population authorized under the Affordable Care Act.
- Other Medicaid Funding: Requires states to cover COVID-19 testing, treatment, vaccines, and vaccine administration for uninsured individuals, including immigrants eligible for emergency Medicaid, and includes 100% federal funding for this coverage. Also, the law increases federal funding for Medicaid mobile crisis intervention teams to 85%.
The American Rescue Plan will expand and increase premium assistance for individuals for the next two years for older adults who purchase health insurance on the marketplace.
To review Justice in Aging’s full fact sheet on how The American Rescue Plan may impact caregivers and older adults, visit here.
Contact a certified elder law attorney(*), such as Linda Strohschein and her team at Strohschein Law Group, for assistance with Medicaid planning for yourself or a loved one. To set up an appointment, contact Strohschein Law Group at 630-377-3241.
This information provided by Strohschein Law Group is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it constitute a legal relationship. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
(*) The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the CELA designation is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.