Medicare still has an LTCI image problem

Consumers still think Medicare does something that it does not actually do: Cover ongoing long-term care (LTC) costs.

A research arm of Bankers Life and Casualty Company has published new data on that misunderstanding in a report based on a Web-based survey of 1,299 U.S. residents ages 49 to 67. The survey participants had annual household income of $25,000 to $75,000.

Only 11 percent said they would expect their children to provide care or pay for care, but just 13 percent said they had private long-term care insurance (LTCI).

About 20 percent said they would depend on Medicaid -- a program for the poor that does pay for nursing home care -- to cover their LTC costs.

But 52 percent said they expect Medicare -- a program that does not normally cover the cost of nursing home care or assisted living facility care -- to pay for their care.

About 54 percent of the survey participants said they were familiar with the concept of LTCI but had not yet bought a policy. Another 34 percent said they were unfamiliar with product.

Forty percent of the participants said they had been caregivers. Acting as a caregiver increased the likelihood that a boomer had at least considered buying LTCI coverage to 24 percent, from 15 percent for the general boomer population.

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