Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program on its 10th anniversary. The Program was established by the Long-Term Care Security Act, and I am proud to have been the lead Democratic cosponsor of that legislation. The Program provides long term care coverage to active and retired federal and postal workers and uniformed servicemembers who participate in the program, and it covers care received at home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. Since the Program's implementation in 2002, it has become the largest private long-term care insurance program in the nation with about 270,000 enrollees. Although it is an employer-sponsored program, 100% of its costs are funded by enrollees, not the federal government or taxpayers.
The Program has increased awareness in the federal community about long term care issues and needs, helped enrollees provide for the high cost of long term care, and provided participants with the opportunity to take control of their future long term care needs. Before we created the Program, long term care services were not covered by Medicare or the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs offered only limited benefits, while Medicaid provided coverage only to the very poor. Since 2002, the Program has paid out almost $200 million in claims, with a claim approval rate of 97-98%.
As the American population, and the baby boom generation in particular, continues to age, there will be an increased need for vital long term care services in this country. In 2009, more than $250 billion was spent nationwide on long term care services, including nursing home and other assisted-living services. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, at least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long term care services at some point in their lives.
I am very pleased to recognize the great achievements of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program in assisting enrollees and their families in financing their future long term care needs and in shielding their retirement savings and assets from the increasing costs of long term care services. I look forward to the continued success of the Program as it begins its second decade of voluntary coverage for our dedicated federal community of civilian and postal workers and members of the armed services.