Democratic and Republican legislators released a massive $1.7 trillion 2023 omnibus spending bill early this morning, setting up a race to the finish line for the 117th Congress by the end of this week.
HCAOA is proud to announce that the bill includes an HCAOA-supported provision to make it easier for individuals and families to cover home care expenses and other home- and community-based services by allowing retirement account distributions for payment of long-term care insurance premiums.
The provision eliminates the 10% penalty for early withdrawals when used for this purpose. A maximum of $2,500 can be distributed annually from a retirement account for this purpose. This amount will be updated annually for cost-of-living adjustments. (Sec. 334 of the Act).
Inclusion of this provision follows months of intense advocacy from HCAOA and its members, who sent countless messages to their legislators in support of home care.
“HCAOA is very excited that leaders of both parties understand the importance of helping families get the home care they want and deserve,” said Eric Reinarman, HCAOA‘s Vice President of Government Affairs. “This represents the latest step in what we hope is an ever-increasing commitment to both family caregivers and family-funded home care.”
HCAOA was pleased that the agreement extends both the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration program and the Medicaid Protections Against Spousal Impoverishment for Recipients of Home and Community Based Services through the 2027 fiscal year.
There is disappointment that the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act was not included in the final agreement. The Congressional Budget Office provided an unfavorable score on the bill, estimating its implementation cost at over $16 billion.
HCAOA will continue working with the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in the next Congress to seek enactment of this bill which would lift reimbursements for home care services. The good news remains that the Omnibus bill contains a provision requiring to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a strategy for addressing the long-term care needs of Veterans. (Sec. 161 of the Act)
Also discouraging was the absence of the Homecare for Seniors Act in the final agreement. This commonsense bill would have allowed funds in health savings accounts to be used to cover home care expenses. Senator Sinema (I-AZ), the sponsor of the bill, made a personal plea to have the bill included, but her request was not granted. HCAOA thanks Senator Sinema for her strong support and efforts. HCAOA will continue to encourage Congress to enact this important legislation.