Older Americans share their plans for long-term care

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Exclusive National Opinion Poll

Older Americans share their plans for long-term care

Most survey respondents, ages 50 to 79, understand their risk of needing care, but many don’t know how they will pay for it. About 1 in 6 have already purchased an insurance policy with long-term care (LTC) coverage. More than half of those without coverage would consider buying it in the future.

Expectations of longevity

63% of survey respondents believe it is likely they will live until age 90.

Comparison Check: An analysis by the Society for Actuaries shows the odds of living to 90 for people who are in their mid-fifties today.

1 in 3 males 1 out of 2 females

Expectations for needing care

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believe it is likely they will need assistance with the activities of daily living at some point in the future. A similar percentage think it is likely they will need residential care in a nursing home.

Comparison Check: Someone turning age 65 today has an almost 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care in future years, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services. Also, the odds of someone turning 65 today needing care for longer than 5 years are 1 in 5.

What is long-term care?

It’s a range of services you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with “activities of daily living” such as bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring (to or from a bed or chair), caring for incontinence and eating.

Sources: Longtermcare.gov

Women are more worried than men about the challenges of aging

Losing my independence Men 56% Women 76%

Becoming a burden to my family or friends Men 51% Women 71%

Losing control and choice over care I might need Men 46% Women 68%

Being unable to depend on family or friends for help Men 38% Women 56%

Women are more likely than men to take these actions if they need help

Hire someone to assist me in my home Men 56% Women79%

Modify my home Men 57% Women 76%

Move into an assisted living facility Men 49% Women 65%

Move in with a family member or friend Men 28% Women 42%

Ask a family member or friend to move into my home Men 27% Women 41%

National median cost of care per year

$61,776 Home health aide (44 hours per week)

$54,000 *Assisted living facility (private one-bedroom)

$108,405 +Nursing home (private room)

Source: Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2021. *Assisted living facilities provide residents assistance with the activities of daily living. +Nursing homes offer residents a higher level of supervision and care than in an assisted living facility (including 24/7 access to skilled nursing care).

Plans for funding the cost of long-term care

42% Paying out of personal savings

23% Buying a long-term care insurance policy

13% Borrowing against the equity in my home

11% Buying a hybrid life insurance policy that will pay for long-term care if I need it

11% Buying an annuity that guarantees a regular income as long as I live

3% Borrowing against a cash-value life insurance policy

32% I don't know

Lower net worth households are more than twice as likely to say “I don’t know how I will pay for care”

41% Net worth less than $500,000

19% Net worth more than $500,000

16% of respondents have already purchased a long-term care or hybrid insurance policy

50s is the most common age for purchasing a policy

55% of respondents without LTC or hybrid insurance coverage would consider purchasing it at some point in the future

Top 5 desired long-term care insurance policy features

Death benefit for my heirs

High benefit cap (often stated as a daily limit or total limit over the benefit period)

Ability to share policy benefits with my spouse

Brief waiting period (how long I have to wait to receive benefits after a claim is approved)

Automatic increases to my benefits to cover inflation

Top 5 reasons for buying insurance that covers long-term care expenses*

76% I don't want to burden my family

35% I saw how much my parents or other loved ones needed care

28% I want to save my money, so I can leave a financial legacy for my heirs

28% I don't have (or am unlikely to have) a spouse or other relative to rely on

23% I think I am likely to experience a serious health issue

Top 5 reasons for not buying insurance that covers long-term care expenses*

56% Coverage is too expensive

24% I have enough savings to pay out of pocket

20% Healthy aging runs in my family

18% I'm too old to qualify

17% I plan to rely on family

Methodology: The poll, conducted in February 2022, surveyed 517 respondents, ages 50 to 79, with a household net worth (excluding a primary residence) that exceeds $100,000. The respondents were equally divided between men and women. *Some response rates may exceed 100% due to the option to select more than one answer.


© Kiplinger April 2022

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