Private long-term care insurance (LTCI) seems to be doing much better at competing with Medicaid for nursing home bed share than it was 2000.
Government officials, private LTCI companies and academic researchers have observed that private LTCI covers a relatively small percentage of older U.S. residents.
But Sudipto Banerjee, a researcher at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), has found that the gap between Medicaid use and private LTCI use narrowed considerably between 2000 and 2010.
Banerjee used data from the Health and Retirement Study, a series of surveys conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.
In 2000, about 32% of U.S. nursing home entrants ages 65 and older were using Medicaid and just 6.4% were using private LTCI coverage.
In 2010, about 30% of new nursing home entrants were using Medicaid and 14% were using private LTCI.
The narrowing of the gap has also been dramatic for older people who have been in nursing homes for 180 days or longer.
In 2000, 4.1% of longtime nursing home residents had private LTCI and about 49% were using Medicaid benefits.
In 2010, more than 12% were using private LTCI and 47% were using Medicaid.
Among older U.S. residents who are using professional home health care, the percentage who have private LTCI coverage has increased to 13%, up from 9.7% in 2000.