Massachusetts Program to Promote Long-Term Care Insurance for the Elderly Sets Contribution Levels for Elders Based on Income and Assets

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) created a conceptual model for a public-private partnership for long-term care. In the model, the exact amount of insurance to be purchased would be determined by the state—rather than by the individual —on the basis of the individual's income and assets.

The state would require that elders with high incomes buy policies with lifetime benefits at full price. Low and middle-income elders would pay a reduced premium for the same lifetime benefit package. Medicaid would take over after the private insurance expired, and all elders who participated in the partnership program would be assured they would never have to spend down their assets for nursing home care.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Program to Promote Long-Term Care Insurance for the Elderly.

Key Findings

  • The project ran into trouble in 1991, when a change in gubernatorial leadership dramatically altered the political environment, and later that year—citing massive state budget problems—the newly appointed secretary of elder affairs terminated the project.