Best, worst states for long-term careNews added by Benefits Pro on June 20, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Kathryn Mayer

First, the good news: States are making “measureable progress” in improving long term services and supports. But now, the bad: There are still widespread disparities across the country, with even top performing states requiring improvement.

So says a new report on LTC out this week — a joint effort of AARP, the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation.

The report evaluates 26 indicators in five so-called key dimensions: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and effective transitions.

The last report done by the groups was back in 2011. Since then, researchers said, there have been some positive changes, including an increased number of home health and personal care aides.

However, the big problem with LTC remains: Though there are more Americans who want — and need — long-term care, the cost remains unaffordable for most Americans. Affordability of long-term care didn’t improve in any state since 2011, the report found.

Read: 5 most expensive LTC markets

According to a recent Genworth survey, the median annual rate of a private room in a nursing home is now $87,600, a 4.35 percent over 2013. Meanwhile, hiring a home health aide costs $45,188 annually and a room in an assisted living facility is now $42,000.

All in all, there is much work to be done, researchers say.

“This scorecard shows that all states have work to do on improving their systems of care, including assessing people’s needs in a uniform way, helping people transition back home after a medical intervention, and increasing the affordability of services regardless of who pays,” said Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation.

And the aging baby boomer population will only exasperate the problem, researchers say.

Still, researchers say the leading states have implemented laws and policies that build stronger Medicaid programs and support family caregivers, and are at least a better example for the states ranked at the bottom of the report.

Overall, the report said, “where you live is still the best predictor of the services you will receive when and where you need them.”
Here are the top states for LTC, according to the report.

1. Minnesota

2. Washington

3. Oregon

4. Colorado

5. Alaska

6. (tied) Hawaii

6. Vermont

The worst states for LTC are:

44. Ohio

45. Oklahoma

46. West Virginia

47. Indiana

48. Tennessee

49. Mississippi

50. Alabama

51. Kentucky

(Kentucky is ranked No. 51 because Washington D.C. was analyzed among the states.)

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