The second year of the two-year legislative session begins Jan. 10. Here is what AARP South Carolina will be working on.
Long-Term Care Recommendations
Rebalancing spending on home and community based services and consumer choice versus institutionalization will result in cost savings to our state. South Carolina’s long term care system ranks 38th worst in the country. We can do a better job of supporting the 770,000 caregivers in our state who provide unpaid care valued at more than $7 billion. Informal care giving has been shown to help delay or prevent the use of nursing home care, a finding of critical importance to public policymakers at both federal and state levels.
Our long term care system needs to be reviewed to determine how it meets the following criteria: promotion of independence through consumer choices, cost containment through identification of efficiencies, as well as identification of duplication, waste, fraud, and abuse, and coordination of access to long term care resources.
The state should explore the development of long term care options through technology and innovation to meet the growing older adult market, which will also provide opportunities for workforce and economic development.
AARP SC fought SCE&G’s rate hike request increase of 9.5%, which was reduced to 4.5% after hundreds of AARP members opposed the rate hike by letter or testimony. This rate reduction saved consumers $96 million. In the fall of 2011, Duke Power asked for a 17% rate increase with a ruling expected in early 2012. AARP will remain vigilant in monitoring utility requests and legislative proposals to inform our members how they can protect themselves from unfair rate hikes.
Mortgage Foreclosure Protections
Mortgage fraud is a material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omissions relied on by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan. This type of fraud is usually defined as loan origination fraud. Mortgage fraud also includes schemes targeting consumers, such as foreclosure rescue, short sale, and loan modification. According to HUD, the preventloanscams.org website has received more than 11,416 complaints as of Dec. 31, 2010, with associated losses of more than $23 million.
SC State Retirement System
AARP SC supports the State Retirees Association of SC’s position for “a fiscally sound and stable defined benefit plan that will provide a sure and dependable source of income to South Carolina state retirees and to future retirees.” Some adjustments need to be made which will result in a retirement plan that is managed prudently and with the understanding that the assets of the plan belong to the retirees who paid into it. AARP fights for pension protections at the national and state level at legislatures and in the courts.
To learn more about what AARP is doing to advocate for our SC members go to the AARP SC state web or call 866-389-5655.