Growing Number of Pennsylvanians Now Seeking Options For Long-Term Care After Recent Announcement By Obama Administration -- Proposed Plan Pulled From Health Care Plan

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25-Year expert in long-term care sector discusses growing national issue. Friends Life Care long term care program provides unique solution to Pennsylvania and Delaware residents.

Carol Barbour, President,  Friends Life Care

Carol Barbour, 25 Year Long Term Care expert and President, Friends Life Care

In the absence of a government program, organizations like Friends Life Care are an option for seniors looking for a long-term care plan.

The recent repeal of the The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act will hit Pennsylvania particularly hard says Friends Life Care President Carol Barbour, a 25-year veteran of long-term care services.

“This state ranks third in the nation for baby boomers and more than 2 million Pennsylvanians match this profile -- and that’s a number that is growing annually,” said Barbour, the leader of a Quaker mission-driven nonprofit that helps people remain in their own homes as they age. Barbour said that while the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined the proposed long-term care insurance plan was not viable, at least the controversy brought a critical issue to Americans attention and now her organization sees more people looking for viable, affordable solutions.

The CLASS Act, written into the Obama administration’s health care plan, was intended as a way to keep aging Americans in their homes—an option that 85 percent of adults would choose for themselves. Today’s seniors who live to an age of at least 65 are living to an average of 83 years old, and a significant number remain healthy enough to age in place. However, seven in ten seniors will experience a life-altering health event and, without the protection of a long-term care plan, options for care are drastically reduced.

In her statement following the repeal of the CLASS Act, US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned that, by 2020, “an estimated 15 million Americans will need some kind of long-term care and fewer than three percent have a long-term care policy.” The Act would have provided a national, voluntary insurance program for Americans planning for care later in life. Because the program could not prove that it would secure enough potential enrollees to be self-supporting, it was eventually determined to be unsustainable.

Secretary Sebelius’ statement lamented that “the current market does not offer viable options for those unable to access private long-term care insurance.” According to Carol Barbour, president of Philadelphia area nonprofit Friends Life Care, that is not entirely true.

“The CLASS Act, though it failed, had at its core the urgency to put protections in place for aging individuals,” said Barbour, who has acted for 25 years as president of the Quaker organization. “In the absence of a government program, organizations like Friends Life Care are an option for seniors looking for a long-term care plan.”

Members pay the nonprofit a simple monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual fee (the member’s choice), for an affordable long-term care plan. When a member becomes eligible for care, Friends Life Care provides in-home health care, related personal-care services.

“Our members qualify for care when one of two things happen,” said Barbour. “When they need assistance in at least two activities of daily living, or when they suffer from a significant cognitive impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.”

In either of those cases, a Friends Life Care Coordinator, a social worker, nurse or occupational therapist, will design and oversee a plan for the qualifying member, arranging for services through the organization’s bank of selected, home care workers, and companions. The goal is to keep members in their homes; however, if a facility becomes necessary, Friends Life Care will pay the selected daily benefit to the nursing home or assisted living facility of the member’s choice.

Although services differ from traditional long-term care insurance because the company arranges, supplies and provides oversight for the long term care services when it becomes necessary, Friends Life Care is regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, the same regulatory oversight as a campus-based retirement community.

To learn more about Friends Life Care, visit http://www.friendslifecare.org.

About Friends Life Care
Friends Life Care offers a unique, affordable alternative or supplement to long-term care insurance and continuing care retirement communities. Designed to help individuals and couples remain at home and independent as they age, customizable membership plans from Friends Life Care help members protect their savings and prepare for the unexpected, while providing innovative options to help increase their vitality and longevity. Unlike long-term-care insurance, the Friends Life Care team of highly credentialed Care Coordinators arranges and supervises all the services you need. Members have no claim forms to file and no reimbursements to wait for. Friends Life Care spares members and their loved ones the enormous stress, cost and uncertainty of locating and managing reliable, qualified care on their own. The emphasis on prevention and attention to the whole person distinguishes Friends Life Care’s philosophy toward independent aging. For more information, please visit http://www.friendslifecare.org or call 215-628-8964.

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