Ask anyone over the age of 60 what they worry about when it comes to aging, and most will talk about their health, whether they’ll be able to afford care, and concerns about where they will be living in their 70s, 80s or 90s.
It’s not just baby boomers who are concerned about aging in Indiana. Healthcare accessibility and affordability are top-of-mind for CICOA staff who work every day to help older adults and people with disabilities live as independently as possible. The issues are also on the minds of those leading Indiana’s Division of Aging.
The good news is we’re working together to develop solutions to ensure that as Hoosiers age, they will have better access to affordable healthcare regardless of their income and where they live.
How to Improve Affordable Healthcare Access
One way to reduce costs is to increase access to home- and community-based services, such as those managed by CICOA’s Flourish Care Management team. Through this program and others, seniors and people with disabilities receive care at home. This is not to diminish the need for institutional care settings or for short- and long-term care at senior living communities. There are many terrific options for people, and CICOA is proud to work in partnership with so many of these organizations.
The simple truth is 90 percent of people say they prefer to age in place in their own homes and communities where they feel safe, secure and comfortable. Not only is this a viable solution, but it’s often the most affordable one. According to the Division of Aging 2020 CHOICE report, aging in-home costs $133 less per day compared to the cost of providing this care in a facility. That’s a substantial savings for individuals and taxpayers.
One of the reasons Flourish care management has been so successful is that care managers work with clients to assess not only their health needs, but also personal needs such as meals, transportation or home modifications.
Indiana is Moving Toward Managed LTSS to Connect Hoosiers to Services
Indiana FSSA is redesigning home- and community-based services to help connect those in need with the care they need. Our hope is that a managed care approach to long term services and supports (LTSS) will be in place by 2024 throughout the state. To ensure the best care possible, we can expect other changes will be made to LTSS so consumers can have services begin within a short amount of time, which we know will result in better outcomes for those aging in place.
CICOA, along with other organizations, is part of a pilot program with Indiana’s Division of Aging to reduce the time it takes to connect people with services. DA is seeking to expedite systems and processes, such as the time it takes to apply for and be approved by Medicaid, to reduce wait times and ensure quicker access to service provisioning and care.
CICOA already has found early success after its own launch of Duett, a for-profit business. Duett is cutting the time it takes to identify available home care providers from days and sometimes weeks or months to a matter of hours. Do we have all the answers? Not yet. But I’m confident that we’re moving in the right direction. And with more innovative solutions, such as Duett, CICOA is helping find new ways to bring affordable, quality access to healthcare for seniors and people with disabilities, regardless of their wealth or their address.
I’m hopeful that one day when we ask people 60 and older what their biggest concerns are, they will focus more on how they want to spend their time and less on worrying about access to affordable care.
As President and CEO, Tauhric Brown uses his strategic vision and experience in the elderly and disability service industry to expand CICOA services and collaborative partnerships to better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve. Before joining CICOA, Brown served as the chief operating officer for Senior Services, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich. His career started in the U.S. Army, and then he became a successful owner/operator for a multi-carrier wireless retail company. Inspired by his family and upbringing, he made the switch to the nonprofit world to fulfill his dream of improving the lives of others.