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CLASS Act Analysis Reveals America’s Long-Term Care Future

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act — a largely overlooked component of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — has the potential to transform long-term care financing in the United States from a welfare-based to an insurance-based system, according to the latest issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PPAR).

With funding from The SCAN Foundation, this installment of PPAR features seven articles that recount the origins of the CLASS Act, analyze the legislation’s key provisions, and explore potential hurdles of implementation.

"We consider this issue of PPAR to represent the best of what the publication has to offer,” said PPAR Editor Robert Hudson, PhD, chair of the Department of Social Policy at the Boston University School of Social Work. “It is timely, informed, and cutting edge. It goes beyond the headlines and delivers detailed accounts of the emergence of the CLASS Act to a broad audience of policy and academic leaders.”

The CLASS Act introduces a voluntary, federally administered insurance program designed to provide middle-class Americans the new choice to plan ahead for personal care and supportive service needs in the face of functional impairment. Enrolled individuals no longer will have to be demonstrably poor or spend themselves into poverty to receive long-term care protection.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives.

“CLASS is about allowing working Americans to take personal responsibility for planning ahead so they can age with dignity and independence,” said Bruce Chernof, MD, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “CLASS enrollees will have the power to choose the services they want in the setting most appropriate to their needs.”

The current issue of PPAR, published by the National Academy on an Aging Society, is available for purchase at The authors include Lisa Shugarman, PhD, of The SCAN Foundation; Joshua Wiener, PhD, of RTI International; Walter Dawson of Oxford University; Barbara Manard, PhD, of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging; Anne Tumlinson, MMHS, of Avalere Health; Rhonda Richards of AARP; and Kathryn Roberts, PhD, of Ecumen.

The National Academy on an Aging Society is the policy institute of The Gerontological Society of America, the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,200+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public.

The SCAN Foundation is an independent nonprofit foundation dedicated to advancing the development of a sustainable continuum of quality care for seniors that integrates medical treatment and human services in the settings most appropriate to their needs and with the greatest likelihood of a healthy, independent life. The SCAN Foundation supports programs that stimulate public engagement, develop realistic public policy and financing options, and disseminate promising care models and technologies. For more information about The SCAN Foundation, visit

Todd Kluss | EurekAlert!
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