Minnesota kicked off a campaign Tuesday to urge more Minnesotans to plan for their needs as they age so they can live independently for as long as possible.
The "Own Your Future" initiative is part of a federally funded effort already under way in 26 other states.
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon said it also helps the state because fewer elderly residents will exhaust their resources and tap the state's Medicaid program.
"We need to increase the number of people who have a plan and the number of people using private financing options to pay for long-term care," Prettner Solon said. "If this does not happen, the state's long-term budgets will be unsustainable."
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said most Minnesotans don't realize that they will need long-term care at some point and that Medicare won't pay for it.
"If they aren't prepared they're going to have to spend down their own resources until they're eligible for Medicaid," Jesson said. "Medicaid is such an important program and it totally needs to be there for those who need it. But not for those who simply did not understand that they might need long-term care."
The state has set up an "Own Your Future" website to help residents plan. It includes suggestions on financial and legal planning and a savings calculator that estimates the cost of long-term care based on sex and age.