Rising life expectancy and potentially exorbitant long-term care costs have increased the financial resources required to support oneself and one’s spouse in retirement and old age. This set of economic facts offer bring attention to trends in Americans’ financial security and preparedness for retirement.
Americans currently spend over $300 billion a year on long-term services and supports (LTSS), paid for through government programs, private insurance, and importantly, individuals’ own out-of-pocket spending. Wesley Yin proposes changes to the financing of long-term care (LTC) insurance so that individuals can have more-affordable and more-complete insurance against long-term services and supports (LTSS) expenses, and so insurance firms can manage their risks more efficiently.
In this policy memo, Isabel Sawhill and Joanna Venator propose that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs, in conjunction with state governments, reduce unintended pregnancies through a social marketing campaign to encourage more young women to use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). This proposal, targeted at unmarried women between the ages of 15 and 30, aims to expand awareness so more low-income women use a LARC or other method of contraception, thereby reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and lowering the number of children born into poverty. This proposal is chapter three of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Promoting Early Childhood Development.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as the Food Stamp Program—is an essential part of America’s social safety net. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Diane Schanzenbach proposes five reforms that could strengthen SNAP, including incentives for participants to purchase healthier foods and improvements to the benefit formula.
In this month’s economic analysis, The Hamilton Project focuses on two critical issues related to SNAP: (1) the widespread existence of both food insecurity and obesity among low-income children in the United States, and (2) the role of SNAP in fighting poverty during times of weak labor markets. SNAP participation rises and falls in lockstep with the unemployment rate, highlighting SNAP’s role as a safety-net program that bolsters family resources when employment and wages are low.
Slowing the rate of health care spending growth will likely require transitioning away from a fee-for-service system to a global payment system. Michael Chernew and Dana Goldman propose policies to promote efficiency in the Medicare program by providing incentives to treat disease rather than paying for individual services in a way that encourages improvements to the quality of care.