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Long-Term Care Costs Outpacing Income for Middle-Income CT Families

July 14, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. - Connecticut is doing better than most states in providing access to long-term health care. But many older middle-income residents are being priced out of the market.

According to Claudio Gualtieri, associate director of advocacy for AARP Connecticut, the state is ahead of the nation when it comes to improving access to long-term care and having more home health aides available.

But Connecticut faces a so-called 'Silver Tsunami' of retirees in the next 20 years, and Gualtieri said more needs to be done to prepare for it.

"All in all, Connecticut remains stable, leading the pack in a lot of areas," concluded Gualtieri. "The biggest challenge continues to be affordability."

Compounding the problem, Gualtieri added, is that just over 5 percent of Connecticut residents age 40 and older have long-term care coverage, so insurance isn't covering the gap.

Connecticut was ranked twelfth nationally in the 2014 AARP State Report Card on Long-Term Services. But even in Oklahoma, which ranked first for private-pay nursing home affordability, the price far outpaces income.

"Even in the states that we've determined to be the most affordable," said Gualtieri, "the price of nursing facility costs is 168 percent of someone's median income for an older household, 65 plus."

The report also found more than 40 percent of Connecticut's family caregivers face stress and worry.

According to Gualtieri, the state must improve how older residents transition between health-care settings.

"The good news," said Gualtieri, "is that we think there's an overlap in supporting caregivers and making those transitions to the home-care setting effective."

He said more than 480,000 Connecticut residents are currently acting as stay-at-home caregivers for aging parents and others.

Read AARP's Raising Expectations report on Connecticut's long-term care services for the aging.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT