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Older Americans: Continuing Care Retirement Communities Can Provide Benefits, but Not Without Some Risk

GAO-10-611 Published: Jun 21, 2010. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2010.
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A growing number of older Americans are choosing continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) to help ensure that their finances in retirement will cover the cost of housing and care they may require. However, recent economic conditions have placed financial stress on some CCRCs. GAO was asked to (1) describe how CCRCs operate and the risks they face, (2) describe how state laws address these risks, (3) describe risks that CCRC residents face, and (4) describe how state laws address these risks. To review these areas, GAO analyzed state statutory provisions pertaining to CCRCs with respect to financial oversight and consumer protection, met with selected state regulators, and interviewed CCRC providers, resident's associations, and consumer groups. While GAO is not recommending specific action at this time, the potential risks to CCRC residents--as well as the potential for this industry to grow--highlight the importance of states being vigilant in their efforts to help ensure adequate consumer protections for residents. GAO provided a draft copy of this report to the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for review, but neither commented on the draft.

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