The new health care law improves both long-term care services and information:
Starting in 2011, consumers will have more information about nursing home inspections, complaints against facilities and consumer rights. This information will help you make decisions when selecting a nursing home. Your state may receive more funds to expand home and community-based services. For example, under the Community First Choice Option, participating states would get more federal dollars to provide certain home and community-based services to certain people with disabilities who live at home but need an institutional level of care. These changes begin in 2011. A new voluntary long-term care insurance program — called CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) — will be available to you if you are working. This program will help you pay for some of your future long-term care services. You will receive a cash benefit if you have a qualifying disability, paid into the program for at least five years, worked at least three of those initial five years and met other eligibility requirements. If your employer participates in the program, you will be enrolled automatically unless you choose to opt out. You will also be able to buy this insurance if your employer doesn’t participate, if you are self-employed or if you have more than one employer. This program is likely to start in 2012 or 2013.Starting in 2014, the law extends financial protections to more spouses of people on Medicaid. If you’re married to someone on Medicaid who gets long-term care services at home, you will have the same protections for your income and other resources as you would if your spouse lived in a nursing home.