Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Farley bill helping seniors pay for long-term care passes committee

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A bill sponsored by Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 28), that would aid seniors with long-term health care passed a committee Wednesday with unanimous bipartisan support.

This is the first policy initiative of a new legislative Senior Caucus founded by Farley.

“Right now, our middle-class families are struggling to make ends meet, and seniors’ long-term care expenses, now averaging more than $72,000 a year out of pocket, are pushing many to the edge of poverty,” Farley said. “The number of Americans needing long-term care is expected to triple by 2040. If we do not find ways to provide for that care right now, we will be facing a huge crisis for our seniors, our national budget, and our economy. This bill gives families an important tool to alleviate that crisis."

HB 2713 would allow Arizonans to open a savings account that would be used to pay health costs for non-hospital expenses, such as nursing home care, home health care and assisted or alternative family living. Money deposited into this account or used to pay for long-term care insurance premiums would be deductible from Arizona income, reducing taxes owed.

Banks, associations, or the entity that hosts the savings account would take out the money for health-care expenses as needed. The amount contributed to a long-term health care savings account or premium costs for long term care insurance would be subtracted from the Arizona adjusted gross income for each year, beginning with 2013.

“It’s a good option to help Arizona families plan for future health-care expenses,” Farley said. “It’s also a step in the direction of a tax code that’s fair for Arizona seniors and the families that care for them. Now we should push Congress to act as well.”

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