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02/26/2020

Home Care Access for Seniors Would Increase Under New Bill

Reported by NAHC earlier this month, the Homecare for Seniors Act, a companion piece to legislation previously introduced in the U.S. House, has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill seeks to allow individuals over 65 the ability to use savings from their tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) for qualified homecare expenses that assist seniors with everyday tasks of daily living

Ohio Seniors would also be able to take advantage of the availability of dollars that were secured in a health saving account for homecare. A 2018 AARP survey shows that 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they would prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to live in their community as long as possible. Only 59% anticipate being able to do so. 

HSAs provide individuals a pre-tax opportunity to save for medical expenses. Currently, seniors who retire with an HSA are not allowed to use those savings for home care expenses, like assistance with meals, personal care, or medication. These types of critical services ensure that seniors can remain in their homes and get the assistance they need. The legislation would allow disbursements of health savings account (HSA) funds to be eligible for qualified home care services, such as assistance for activities of daily living.

“Current law keeps seniors from being able to use the money they have saved in a health savings account to access homecare services,” said Senator Gardner. “Without homecare support, seniors can be forced to decide to move into a more restrictive, expensive setting. It is critical we give seniors the flexibility to use their savings to pay for invaluable homecare services and ensure they are able to choose to remain in their homes.”

According to Ohio's State Plan on Aging, Ohio’s 60-plus population is projected to grow from 2.6 million to 3.37 million by 2030, representing a 30% increase. Access to home- and community-based services are critical to supporting this growing population, and the Homecare for Seniors Act would provide an additional vehicle for them to do so.

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