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The Complexities of Long Term Care in North Dakota

North Dakota is the most rural state in America. The state's idyllic lifestyle promotes longer lives among its residents that is why North Dakota has numerous population of the elderly compared to other states. The population of North Dakota started from 3, 000 people way back 1870, but drastically grew to neat 680, 000 by 1930 and continues to rise in the next decades. In the latest 2008 U.S Census status, the population of North Dakota declined at 641, 481.

As the aging population, as well as baby boomers, continues to rise, the state has been challenged with some demographic changes. First is the high rate of emigration of younger people to urban areas. North Dakota has few employment opportunities and resources for the people to maintain a decent living, so many residents especially the young professional are forced to leave their native land and move to other states with better and ample job opportunities. The burgeoning rate of emigration, on the other hand, increases the likelihood for many elders to live alone and care for themselves despite of their chronic illness or disability. Second, North Dakota has suffered from grave workforce shortage since most nurses and staffs have migrated to other neighboring states. The North Dakota Long Term Care Association reported that 40 percent of nursing home facilities have reduced admissions in the past years due to shortage of staff, and 66 percent of all nursing facilities have staffing crisis. Unfortunately, two out of every five state's residents will need nursing care including long-term care at some point of their lives, but how can people cope with these challenges as staffing shortage and increasing demands for care worsen? All these are culprit of the deteriorating health care for seniors. Those living in the remotest part of the state suffer the inefficacy of state's health programs.

The Deficit reduction Act of 2005 implemented the Long Term Care Partnership Programs throughout all states in America. The North Dakota Partnership for Long Term Care was institutionalized on January 1, 2007 between the state of North Dakota and participating private insurance companies. The policies that meet the guidelines of DRA grant policyholders the right to apply for Medicaid financial support without crossing the financial eligibility and estate recovery rules.

All partnership policies must provide the following benefits:

Asset Disregard – Most people rely on Medicaid for help on their health needs; however, this publicly-supported fund only qualifies people with assets below $2000. This means that a person has to deplete his or her assets in order to become eligible for the program, or, otherwise, pay the costly services themselves. With partnership policies, the person's assets will be disregarded as to determining the amount of benefits he/she should receive. For instance, a person receives $200, 000 insurance benefits from a partnership policy; therefore, he or she can retain the same amount of assets and qualify for Medicaid eligibility.

Inflation protection – Partnership policies shall contain inflation protection based on the person's age at the time the coverage became effective. Policyholders under the age of 61 on the date of purchase shall receive compound annual protection. Those at age 61 but below 76 years of age on the date of purchase may receive some level of protection. But those above 76 the inflation protection is only optional.
Reciprocity – The partnership policy purchased in the state of North Dakota can be used in other states that conform to reciprocity agreement. This means that a person will receive a continued coverage even if he or she moves to another state.

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