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Hawaii legislators to weigh public long-term care insurance plan

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Hawaii is more than a popular vacation destination for Americans and people around the world. It has a unique culture where caring for older adults, whose population there and throughout our country is growing, is a priority. Therefore, it shouldn't be a surprise that Hawaii's legislators are going to be considering the first public long-term care program in the country this year.

The chair of the state senate's Consumer Protection and Health Committee is planning to introduce the bill. The idea isn't new in the Aloha state, however. It's been under discussion since the 1990s.

If the legislation passes, the universal LTC program would provide beneficiaries with up to $70 daily for as long as a year to reimburse their LTC care. The program could be a model for the federal government as well as for other states.

So how will the costs be covered? Since Hawaii receives much of its income from tourists, officials say that this would cover about one-third of the price tag. However, there would also need to be a tax increase to cover the remainder of it.

Whether the voters of Hawaii urge their state legislators to adopt this plan and whether they vote on a tax increase to help make it possible remain to be seen. However, as the American population ages and the gap between people's retirement savings and the cost of long-term care widens, there's little doubt that legislators at all levels of government and others in positions of power will need to come up with solutions to help bridge this gap in the coming years.

Source: Healthcare Dive, "Hawaii to consider first public LTC insurance program," Heather Caspi, Jan. 19, 2016

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