Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today introduced The Long-Term Care Act of 2007, legislation that would allow individuals to use their IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans to purchase qualified long-term care insurance with pretax dollars without penalty.

"Long-term care costs are skyrocketing in South Dakota and across this country," said Thune. "Rising costs create a tremendous burden, both for our seniors and their families, and for American taxpayers. Thanks largely to the quality of our health care services in this country Americans are living longer - but the financing is simply not there to support the 78 million baby boomers who are approaching retirement. Without a doubt we are approaching a fiscal crisis in long-term care."

By 2020, one out of six Americans will be 65 or older - an increase of 20 million seniors compared to today. Many of these individuals will require long-term care, but Medicare only covers approximately 20% of long-term care expenditures. Also, such services are not typically covered by traditional health insurance. To qualify for Medicaid, many individuals are forced to spend down their life savings. By 2040, the number of Americans 85 and older (the group most likely to require long-term care) will quadruple to 14 million.

"In 2005, Americans spent over $206.6 billion on long-term care. I believe we should focus on sustainable health care reform solutions that allow individuals to take ownership of their health care, create more competition in the marketplace and help provide affordable, high-quality care for all Americans. Long-term care insurance allows more individuals to preserve their savings for retirement and ensures that Medicaid dollars are targeted to the neediest recipients. This will save taxpayers from the increased cost of long-term care.

"The later years of a person's life should be spent enjoying the company of grandchildren, family, and friends. Long-term care insurance can help relieve the burden of long-term care planning and give people the flexibility and freedom they need to make the best decisions for their own health care future."

Senator Thune's Long-Term Care Act has the support of the South Dakota Health Care Association (SDHCA), the American Health Care Association, America's Health Insurance Plans, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, and the American Medical Association.

"SDHCA commends Senator Thune for introducing the Long Term Care Act," said Mark Deak, Executive Director of SDHCA. "South Dakota's elderly and disabled citizens currently receive the highest possible quality long term care. Expanding South Dakota's citizens ability to secure the protection of long term care insurance will go far in ensuring that their future long term care needs are met."

Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska introduced a companion bill to Senator Thune's legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.