Medicaid is the nation’s major publicly-financed health insurance program, covering the acute and long-term services and supports (LTSS) needs of millions of low-income Americans of all ages. With limited coverage under Medicare and few affordable options in the private insurance market, Medicaid will continue to be the primary payer for a range of institutional and community-based LTSS for persons needing assistance with daily self-care tasks. Advances in assistive and medical technology that allow persons with disabilities to be more independent and to live longer, together with the aging of the “Baby Boomers,” will likely result in an unprecedented need for LTSS over the coming decades. To reduce unmet need and curb public health care spending growth, state and federal policymakers will be challenged to find more efficient ways to provide high quality, person-centered LTSS across service settings. This primer describes LTSS delivery and financing in the U.S., highlighting covered services and supports, types of care providers and care settings, beneficiary subpopulations, costs and financing models, quality improvement efforts, and recent LTSS reform initiatives.
– The Kaiser Family Foundation