US Mayor Article

Cities can help their employees reduce financial risk with The United States Conference of Mayors Long-Term Care Program
The United States Conference of Mayors offers made- to- order Long-Term Care Program

May 15, 2000


To help municipal employees prepare for the future, city benefits and human resource departments across the country are reviewing their programs. Wrestling with an aging workforce, businesses and other interest groups are pressuring Congress for legislation to address the long-term care needs of the public. Even so, those close to the issue feel the solutions under consideration will not be sufficient protection against the potentially high costs of this type of care.

To address the concerns of cities and their employees, the Conference has introduced a quality Long-Term Care Program. "Now that I am retiring, I can especially appreciate the critical importance of providing this benefit. Cities need to seriously consider long-term care for their employees," Mayor Sam Campana of Scottsdale, Arizona commented when discussing the Conference's program.

The Conference's Long-Term Care Program is one initiative mayors can support to promote the economic well-being of municipal employees and to sustain the economic infrastructure of cities. "High costs of health care are a concern for all," says Pam Gardner, Risk Manager, City of Boca Raton.

The Conference's Long-Term Care Program is one benefits package that goes beyond the traditional skilled nursing facility care. It includes home care, assisted living facility care, and adult day care, providing assistance for such daily living activities as eating, dressing, and bathing.

A December 1998 report by the Health Insurance Association of America offers some sobering statistics on why such insurance is crucial:

  • About 39 percent of those needing long-term care are younger than sixty-five years.

  • Two out of five elderly people will spend some time in a nursing home at costs averaging $41,000 a year nationally.

  • In 2030, the average annual cost of a year's nursing home stay is expected to be about $100,000.

  • Most costs associated with long-term care aren't covered by traditional health or disability insurance or by Medicare. Medicare pays only about seven percent of all long-term care costs, and Medicaid, a federal assistance program, requires you to spend down assets to meet federal poverty limits before receiving benefits.

The Conference is taking steps to identify cities that can benefit most from this type of program and are interested in learning more.

A number of cities have expressed a desire to know more about long-term care, but are challenged by time in evaluating this important type of coverage for their employees. The Conference has worked with the program's insurance carrier and program administrator to provide two-hour seminars to meet the cities' information needs.

The presentations offer an great overview, ample time for questions, and attendees receive a working packet of information they can use immediately to evaluate, plan and introduce their cities' long-term care initiatives.

"The format of the program is excellent. The commonality of cities coming together with their colleagues in a small group to share information about long-term care and strategies for introducing it into the cities made it a productive session," says Fagan Stackhouse, Director of Virginia Beach's Human Resources Department.

Regina Hilliard, Benefits Administrator of Virginia Beach states, "A lot people have only a vague idea of long-term care…The whole concept is laid out. This was really helpful."

If your city is interested in knowing more about this program and the seminars, please call Lilla Hammond on the Conference staff at 888-828-8763 or e-mail: lhammond@usmayors.org.

Return to Previous Page.

second_line

U.S. Mayor

Home Search jwelfley@usmayors.org

second_line