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Long-term Care

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Minnesota has led the country in the effort to help people stay in their homes longer, which improves our quality of life, maintains independence, and saves money.  Health reform gives Minnesotans more options to receive care in their homes and communities. 

Paying for Home Care and Nursing Home Services


Long-term care includes the home care, customized living, and nursing home services that Minnesotans often need as they age, or become disabled. Minnesota has led the country in the effort to help people stay in their homes longer, which improves our quality of life, maintains independence, and saves money. In 2011, AARP ranked Minnesota #1 in quality and access for long-term care services. Health reform gives Minnesotans more options to receive care in their homes and communities through a new long-term care insurance option, and by helping Minnesotans on Medical Assistance to transition from institutions to communities.  

More Information

Own Your Future - An initiative between Minnesota and the federal Department of Health and Human Services to help Minnesotans plan for future long-term care needs.

Helping People Stay in their Homes  - Health reform allows more options for long-term care services and emphasizes services provided in home and community-based settings.

CLASS Program  -  The CLASS Program was included in health reform to provide a national, voluntary long-term care insurance option that would offer working adults some protection against the cost of paying for long-term care services and supports. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the program is not being implemented and future alternatives are being evaluated.

Long-Term Care Partnership - The Long Term Care Partnership is a public-private arrangement between long-term care insurers and Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program. Minnesota residents who purchase certain Long Term Care Partnership policies receive additional asset protection if they later need the State to help pay for their long-term care.

What is long-term care?

Long-term care refers to care that individuals may need for a long time because they are unable to take care of themselves due to an illness, disease, the aging process, or cognitive impairment (for example, Alzheimer’s disease).

Most long-term care is non-skilled personal care, such as help with everyday tasks, called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs):
• Bathing
• Dressing
• Using the toilet
• Transferring (moving to or from a bed or chair)
• Caring for incontinence and
• Eating.

The goal of long-term care is to provide help with routine functions when being fully independent is not possible. Long-term care can be provided at home, in a community setting or in an institution.

What is the difference between long-term care and standard/basic health care?

Long-term care generally refers to the full spectrum of services needed due to physical and/or mental impairments, and includes both nursing facility care and home and community-based services.  It can include things like housing with services, customized living, and in-home services such as home care, transportation, companion services, and home delivered meals.  Standard/basic health care services include hospital, physician, and prescription coverage.

What is home care?

Home care provides health-related services and assistance with day-to-day activities to people in their home. It can be used to provide short-term care for people moving from a hospital or nursing home back to their home and can also be used to provide continuing care to people with ongoing needs. Home care services may also be provided outside the person’s home when normal life activities take them away from home.

Who is eligible for home care services?

Home care services are available to some people through Medical Assistance and waiver programs for Minnesotans who have needs that are medically necessary, physician ordered and are provided according to a written service plan.  Minnesotans with long-term care insurance may also have access to these services.

How can I get home care services?

You can call a home health agency or your county public health nurse. To find a home health agency in your area, look in the yellow pages of your local calling area telephone book under Home Health Services.

What is being done on the state or federal level to encourage people to purchase coverage for long-term care?

Minnesota implemented a Long-Term Care Partnership program effective July 1, 2006. Under this program, Minnesota residents who purchase a specific type of long-term care insurance policy, called a Long-term Care Partnership policy, are able to protect more of their assets if they later need to turn to Medical Assistance (MA) to help pay for long-term care services. Information on this program is available on the Minnesota Long Term Care Partnership website. For additional information on planning for long-term care, visit the the Own Your Future website.

The health reform includes a Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program (CLASS). The program will provide assistance with long-term care services and supportive services that allow people to stay in their homes. The Affordable Care Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to announce the details of the CLASS benefit plan by Oct. 1, 2012. Information on this program is available through the Office of Community Living Assistance Services and Supports.

What if I have more questions about programs for aging?

The Senior LinkAge Line® is the Minnesota Board on Aging’s free statewide information and assistance service. The Senior LinkAge Line® service is provided by six Area Agencies on Aging that cover all 87 counties of Minnesota and helps connect you to local services.  1 (800) 333-2433. The free call that does it all!

Where can I go for answers to disability related questions?

The Disability Linkage Line® (DLL) is a free, statewide information and referral resource that provides Minnesotans with disabilities and chronic illnesses a single access point for all disability related questions. DLL provides service to the entire state from four locations: St. Paul, Rochester, Bemidji and Brainerd. 1 (866) 333-2466.