Seniors Still Using Cash Advances to Fund Health Care

Senate debating over new health care bill

Image from Wikimedia.

Image from Wikimedia.

Throughout 2010, senior citizens are expected to continue using cash advances to fund growing health care expenses. Although health care is a hot topic in the U.S., there is still a long way to go regarding sorting it out. The senate just turned away a republican initiative to eliminate long-term care insurance that helps seniors and the disabled. The party fell short of their bid to get rid of the program on a 51 to 47 vote.

The late Senator Edward Kennedy was the main supporter of the insurance bill, referred to as the CLASS act. CLASS stands for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act. Despite Senator Kennedy’s push, the bill has been up for deliberation for decades. In this act, workers would be required to contribute a monthly premium during their work years into the program. If they suffer an injury that renders them disabled, they would receive a minimum cash benefit of $50 daily. The money could be put toward supplies, equipment, home improvements, home health care or daily nursing home costs.

Critics of the CLASS act speak out

Critics of the CLASS act believe it to be a thinly veiled way for the government to tax consumers more. Senator John Thune has spoken against the CLASS act and said that it is “the same old Washington, same old smoke and mirrors, same old games… We are locking in future generations to deficits and debts as far as the eye can see.” He believes the government, that is already under huge debt, is only building a way to create even more debt that eventually tax payers will have to pay.

CLASS act still has its supporters

On the other hand, there is also a strong backing for the CLASS act. Senator Dodd said, “It is a solid program that can make a huge difference for millions of Americans, allowing them to lead independent lives with dignity.” Supporters of the act cite the ability to defray huge costs of nursing care as a major benefit. On average nursing homes cost $70,000 a year, and seniors who need health nursing home care have to run out of their savings before they can apply for coverage from Medicaid. It also takes time to get Medicaid and some senior citizens are running out of personal funds before their coverage begins. Many seniors have to fill the gap by turning to family aid, cash advances and charity organizations.

Overall the CLASS act would put them at ease because it would automatically become a safeguard when they need it. In addition, Medicare only covers temporary nursing home residencies, and it’s already on the chopping block for major cuts in 2010. On the other hand, the act would be consistent throughout the patient’s lifetime of care and depend on how much they paid into the fund.

Seniors in need of future aid

Regardless of whether or not the CLASS act is approved, senior citizens need some vehicle that will carry them through their post-employment health care. Senator Dodd added, “Health care for the elderly needs to be sorted out in a manner that is efficient and effective.”  Most seniors are at the mercy of using up savings, using cash advances and relying on family to get through their later years.

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