Editor’s Note: In April word of changes to the New Brunswick nursing home policy made the rounds and seniors were anxious. In early May 2015 CARP participated in a Q&A session and presentation that was meant to give seniors/voters the opportunity to ask the Ministers responsible for the changes for clarification on the murkier points of the new policy. Those who attended the meeting left feeling that they did not get answers on some of the more important questions they had about what the new policies would entail… This is why CARP invited Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers to draft a letter to CARP members to provide answers to the many questions that have surfaced since the announcement of the changes. What follows is the response CARP received from Minister Rogers – she addresses CARP members directly in this letter:
Canadian Association of Retired Persons
I want to thank CARP for giving me an opportunity to provide accurate and factual information to its members about recent nursing home policy changes. I certainly understand the anxiety that many New Brunswickers are feeling given the amount of misinformation about what the changes mean for them and/or their loved ones.
Our Government is committed to supporting seniors to live independently for as long as possible. This year, through our Home First Strategy, an additional $10.3 million is being invested into programs and services that support seniors in their homes and communities, which is where they want to be.
An important fact that continually gets ignored when I talk about long-term care is that less than eight percent of New Brunswickers will ever enter a nursing home.
For the small number of seniors who may someday become a nursing home resident, I would like to alleviate concerns that have come to my attention by addressing inaccurate and misguided information shared by critics:
- The changes are not a return to the old policy were all assets were included.
- Everyone will continue to be subsidized by taxpayers since the average cost is $233 per day; no one will pay more than $175 per day.
- The family home will never be included in an assessment, even when sold.
- Government is not “going into bank accounts” and taking your money. You will be assessed on your income (as is currently being done):
- Under the new scale, couples with incomes less than $60,000 will pay less for their nursing home care, and only 10% of certain financial liquid assets over $100,000 will be added to your income assessment.
- For singles, 20% of certain financial liquid assets over $50,000 will be added to your income assessment.
- Liquid assets include stocks, bonds, and bank accounts.
- RRSPs, RRIFs, RESPs are not included.
- The inclusion of assets will not impact current nursing home residents. Current residents will be grandfathered.
- The new income scale will be applied to all current and future nursing home residents.
Over the coming weeks I look forward to meeting with seniors to provide accurate information about the changes and how the new Home First Strategy will help to keep people healthy and at home.
Minister of Social Development