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AARP Supports AB 911 (Nazarian) Creating Board to Oversee Future State Long-Term Care Benefit

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March 3, 2021

The Honorable Adrin Nazarian
State Capitol, Room 4146
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: AB 911 – Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) - SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Nazarian:

On behalf of 3.3 million AARP members in California, we appreciate your leadership in introducing AB 911, and I am writing to express AARP’s strong support for this bill.  AB 911 will determine the members of the LTSS Board that would oversee a future LTSS benefit to help millions of Californians cover the cost of LTSS.  This program would help to meet the needs of California’s growing population of older adults and persons living with disabilities.

Currently, almost 8 million Californians are either older adults or persons with mobility, sensory, intellectual/developmental, and/or mental health disabilities; and this population will grow significantly over the next decade. Unfortunately, long-term services and supports (LTSS) are not adequately covered by Medicare, and less than 5 percent of Californians have purchased long-term care insurance due to its high cost and ever-shifting benefits. Paying out-of-pocket for LTSS is cost-prohibitive for older Californian households, whose median income is $50,000. Family caregivers spend an average of nearly $7,000 a year covering the costs of care for their loved ones. For individuals and families, unanticipated costs associated with LTSS can lead to reduced and/or inadequate care options, psychological stress, and poverty. When informal networks of care are not available, individuals and families must pay out-of-pocket for LTSS, purchasing services provided by home care aides, adult day services, assisted living communities, and nursing homes.

The sad fact is that many are forced to spend their entire savings and even liquidate assets in order to qualify for an already overburdened Medi-Cal system. But these services come at a high price to California taxpayers.

AARP believes that California needs a new LTSS benefit program that provides benefits that are flexible and responsive to each individual’s unique needs. Such a program would preserve dignity and choice for individuals and their families by providing for their service and support needs while these services are being funded by a new, sustainable source. This new program would also help relieve the increasing demographic and financial pressure on the Medi-Cal system, while bringing California families much needed-relief.

Sincerely,

Nancy McPherson

State Director

Cc:       Senator Richard Pan

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