U.S. residents may skimp on long-term care insurance (LTCI) for reasons other than abject ignorance.
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), Arlington, Va., raises that possibility in a summary of results from a new survey of about 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and older that was conducted in late October and early November.
LIFE commissioned the survey in support of the November 2011 Long Term Care Insurance Awareness Month campaign.
The United States has about 100 million residents ages 50 and older, but only 8 million have LTCI, LIFE says.
LIFE cites government figures suggesting that about 70% of people over age 65 will end up needing at least some LTC services.
One theory is that people fail to buy LTCI because they do not understand how many older people need LTC or how much LTC costs.
But LIFE found that 71% of the survey participants understood that 50% to 80% of today’s 65-year-olds will need LTC services, and that 65% estimated the annual cost of a private room in a nursing home in the U.S. to be between $58,000 and $88,000.
The actual is cost is about $78,000, LIFE says.
About 74% believe the average duration of care will be 3 years or longer. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it has found that the typical individual who needs LTC needs care for about 3 years.
LIFE also found that 72% of the survey participants believed the average age of someone who purchases LTCI is between 45 and 64.
About 76% of LTCI buyers do buy the product when they are ages 45 to 64, LIFE says.