Long-Term Care Spending in California is the largest line item in health insurance premiums for people over 70

In California, spending on adults with disabilities differs by ‘race and place’

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In California, spending on adults with disabilities differs by ‘race and place’

By Robert Sullivan

July 19, 2014 — 7:30 am

The cost of long-term care is the largest line item in health insurance premiums for people older than 70, according to a recent report by the California Council on Long-Term Care (CCOLTC).

Spending by private-sector health insurers on long-term care (LTC) varies by age, ethnicity and rural/urban setting, according to the report, which is part of a joint effort by the national nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation and California Health Care Foundation (CHCF).

The research examined long-term care spending by ethnicity, age and rural/urban setting within the United States. It then used the findings to calculate spending on long-term care by state.

The study’s findings suggest a potential disparity in care. For example, California residents with the lowest income levels had the highest use of long-term care services in the nation. California residents with the highest income levels had the lowest use of long-term care.

Rural/urban setting “is associated with higher levels of spending than other areas,” the report says.

The disparity reflects a racial/ethnic divide, the study found. For example, people of white, Asian and Native American heritage spent less on long-term care than people of African-American and Latino heritage. In addition, lower-income Californians with disabilities spent more on long-term care services than higher-income Californians without disabilities.

“The findings are troubling but aren’t surprising,” said Dr. Deborah S. Johnson, a study co-author and director of the CHCF Institute for Community Empowerment.

“Our findings show health inequities in the ability of people to meet the needs of their needs,” she said. “This research shows that California is experiencing higher costs for long-term care as it relates to race and class.”

The report did reveal some interesting findings:

The majority of LTC spending by insurers is based on the medical and nursing services needed to meet a patient’s or resident

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