Minister Cathy Rogers on Senior Nursing Home Care: The good news

The following is a the English transcription of the Honorable Minister Cathy Rogers announcement of policies that will effect senior nursing home care.

Cathy Rogers

Good morning bonjour thank you for being here. I am pleased that I and now able to announce the details of our new and progressive policy that will be used to calculate the cost of nursing home care for New Brunswickers.

Seniors told that us they did not want their homes included in the assessment. We have listened, the family home will not be counted in the assessment not even when it is sold. Neither will items such as cottages, boats or vehicles. Seniors also told that us they were concerned about their partner or dependents remaining  at home.  We have listened under the new formula many seniors especially low and middle income earners will see their contributions to the cost of total care drop, leaving  them more money for necessities and for their partners and dependents who remain at home.

Seniors told us that they have worked hard all their lives to build financial security and they should not have to lose what they have built in order to get proper nursing care. We have listened.  Under the new policy only certain liquid financial assets will be factored into determining the amount an individual contributes. Things, for example like cash stocks and bonds will be factored in but RRSPs  and RIFFs will not.

In addition, the first $50,000 of eligible assets for an individual, and the first $100,000 for a couple will not be included in the assessment of assets, and for the those eligible assets above $50,000 for an individual only 20% will be taken into account when calculating the nursing home cost on a yearly basis. For couples this percentage will be 10% of assets above $100,000. Also regardless of assets no one will ever pay more than a 175.00$  per day for their care. Which is significantly less and the current average cost to taxpayers of $233.00 per day. We are still subsidizing the cost of care for all seniors.  In order to ensure that the system is sustainable over the long term we are simply asking those who can contribute a little more to do so. Thank you, mercie I will know take some questions.

Question: inaudible

Answer: For the most part I started hearing repeat information  a lot of the same things. Seniors told us that they were very concerned about their family home and even what if they sold their family home. Seniors told us that they were concerned about their partners  or dependents at home, so we were able to be hearing this over and over again. Seniors told us that they didn’t want to be depleted from their assets and that they need a sense of security. We listen to the things and we were hearing the same concerns repeatedly, and  we also are very very concerned about misinformation or assumptions and even fears that are among many seniors and we wanted to dispel this and come  out with the good news of this policy their homes are not touchable even if they are sold, and that their partners and their dependents at home are considered, and also that there are thresholds for a single person or family or household that are going to be an excluded from the factoring in of an amount a person will pay a nursing home. So these are the main concerns that we heard over and over, and again to try to address things as soon as possible this was why am announcing this today.

Question: Inaudible.

Answer: we are still collecting data on assets, liquid assets, as you know we have not been considering this in the past. We have always considered income so the change on the income side is the removal of the cap and the change and that is impacted with that income is the inclusion of only certain liquid assets so from the recent statistics canada findings we see that and less than half of New Brunswickers have between and $4,000 an $8,000 liquid assets. We are assuming that we are talking about a small portion of individuals. We did talk about 13% quite a bit as  an income  amount of people who would likely be impacted because that’s the data we have today on income. On assets it because we had so narrowed the factoring in of what is included, for example the home is not included even if it is sold this excludes and a lot of people and potentially could be included. We’ve also set thresholds so we believe it’s going to be a very small number, it will be in the top and 10 to 13%, probably.

Question: Inaudible.

Answer: Look at this  policy is part of, this policy was announced to address current immediate concerns but we have bigger vision with long-term care where we need to build capacity in the community and this is one measure that we are taking to address the increasing demands and pressures that are faced facing us facing me as a department and the department of health just because we have in the next 10 to 15 years, we have an increase of 61% of seniors  entering the 70 75 age bracket. So this is simply one small measure that’s considered fair and progressive to ask for those who can contribute a little bit more to the care of their own and to their own care and nursing homes.

Question: Inaudible.

Answer: Its only a percentage of the liquid assets over the threshold that has been predetermined for a single individual or for a couple plus it’s only the percentage of what’s above that amount that will be factored into the annual amount that someone will be an asked to contribute for their nursing home care. 10% of the eligible liquid assets over and above the threshold that we have identified so it’s really good news for a lot of people, and in fact another piece of the good news is the income scale has been adjusted to allow those who earn under $60,000 per year to retain more of their income, so this is another piece that my department  officials are working on at the moment, the adjustment of the scale we want to make sure that those who cannot afford to pay and are helped even a little bit more and especially when they have partners or dependents at home because this is what seniors told us when we have been  hearing their concerns.

Question: Inaudible

Answer: it doesn’t get touched.  If you sell your house and the liquid assets that come from the selling of your house will not be included in, it will not be included that’s right so that’s why i think this is a good news piece we have to listen to what seniors concerns where they sell their home we will look at the value from the selling of their homes and that will be added to the established threshold that will remain  not factored into the inept person is able to pay. It’s  a very fair policy i believe it’s progressive which is what he said from the outset we sent from the very beginning we did not want to and burden anyone.  we highly respect and value our seniors if we have heard from seniors that currently those in-kind in the middle and lower middle income bracket and feel that they are left with too little, and so this is why the income scale is being adjusted in those earnings under $60,000 if they have a dependent or a spouse at home or a partner at home and they will actually retain more than what they’re contributing today.  So we feel that we’ve not been needs and that have been expressed by the seniors that we have been meeting with very diligently, actually for months.

Question: inaudible

Answer: Yes I can actually give you a bit of a list of what will be included in the scale.  So we will be looking at basically if it’s cash deposits in financial institutions, so bank accounts, treasury bills, stocks, bonds, tax-free savings accounts, guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, and investment funds in trust. These will be the types of liquid assets that will be factored in to the and ability to contribute, but what will not be factored in again RRSPs and RIFFs or retirement in income funds and also what will not be factored in will be the family home, even if it is liquidated.

Thank you very much and I hope this will be seen as  a good news piece, and it’s showing that we have listened to seniors listen to their concerns and we are responding with the effective policy that will help us to have our system more sustainable in the future, and again this is just a piece of a large larger long-term vision that we had for long-term care. thank you.


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