How to take care of Uncle Paul and Aunt Polly as they age is not just a family matter; it’s also a real challenge to Connecticut’s ability to provide quality critical services and keep the state’s fiscal head above water. 

Experts say that over the next 20 years, the number of Connecticut residents age 65 and older is expected to increase by more than 300,000 and rise to nearly 23% of the state’s population.

This week, CBIA testified in support of two proposals in the legislature’s Aging Committee that are designed to give Connecticut’s senior residents more choice in long-term care and reduce the demand on state Medicaid spending--the largest line item in the annual state budget.

SB 937and HB 6461 would help rebalance long-term healthcare in Connecticut to increase more cost-effective home- and community-based care and, just as important, make it easier for individuals to access it.

On average, the cost of home and community-based care is about half the cost of institutional care. Two years ago, 53% of Medicaid long-term clients in Connecticut were receiving community-based care for a total cost of $886 million. The remainder (47%) received institutional care--at a tab of more than $1.6 billion.

While the state has set its sights on rebalancing that equation to a 75%-25% split favoring home- and community-based care, the next big question is how quickly.

For many seniors, the spirit is willing—they want to stay in their homes as they age—but the system is weak. They face daunting red tape in getting home-based services instead of institutional placement.

Recognizing the challenge, Governor Malloy earlier this year proposed a Strategic Plan to Rebalance Long-Term Services and Supports that, among other things, aims to expand community-based nonprofit provision of services and help seniors access these services.

While the Aging Committee proposals are not part of the governor’s plan, they have the same goals.

The fast-approaching “gray tide” of baby boomers means that policymakers should move toward solving this challenge with all deliberate speed.  

For more information, contact CBIA’s Pete Gioia at 860.244.1945 or pete.gioia@cbia.com.