Long Term Care FactSheet

Long Term Care Facts in Brief

"Almost half of everyone over age 65 spends some time in a nursing home. "

"A stay costs about $2,000 to $5,000 a month, and that is expected to rise to an estimated $7,000 to $18,000 by 2023."

"No matter what age you are now, if you were to buy a mid-priced long-term care policy you'd probably pay out less for your lifetime of premiums than you would for one year in a nursing home."


The greatest threat to life savings is not acute illness but long term care.

bulletIn reality, today about 1 in 10 Americans older than 65 and almost half of Americans age 85 and older who live in the community require assistance with their every day activities. The risks of needing nursing home care are also substantial. Nearly half of women and one-third of men age 65 and older will need a nursing home stay sometime during their lifetime. (Testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, March 9, 1998)
bulletOverall, 1.8 million Americans are in nursing homes; the cost last year was $87 billion. About half of that, or $44.9 billion, was paid by Medicaid, the federal-state program intended to provide health care to the poor. That tax bill is equivalent to $173 each from all 260 million men, women and children in America. As the aging population swells, the burdens will only get worse. (Philadelphia Online, 3/30/98)

The need for long term care is growing.

bulletBy the year 2030, when the last of the baby boomers reach retirement, it is estimated that the number of elderly individuals will double from 35 million to nearly 70 million. Over 20 percent of the population will be over 65 in 2030, compared with 13 percent in 1990. This means that in about thirty years, 32 states will resemble Florida’s population today. (Testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, March 9, 1998)
bulletToday, the average life expectancy at birth is 79 years for women and 72 years for men. Life expectancy is projected to increase into the next century, increasing at a slightly greater rate for women. Since women have a longer average life expectancy than men and also tend to marry men older than themselves, 7 out of 10 "baby boom" women will outlive their husbands -- many can expect to be widows for 15 to 20 years. (Administration On Aging, 3/30/98)
bulletBy the year 2020, older women will account for 85 percent of persons aged 65 and over who live alone. Given these factors, home and community-based services, which include personal care services, assistance with household tasks, transportation, and attention to health needs, are critical to the well-being of older women today and will play an increasingly important role in meeting their diverse needs well into the next century. (Administration On Aging, 3/30/98)

Americans are waking up to the financial risk.

bulletSince 1990, the costs per stay have increased at an annual average rate of 3 percent above the rate of inflation. Assuming this trend continues, the annual cost of a nursing home stay is expected to increase from $40,000 today to $97,000 (in 1996 dollars) by 2030. (Testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, March 9, 1998)
bulletThough government pays for a large portion of long term care costs, if baby boomers fail to plan ahead and purchase private insurance, much of the burden of rising nursing home costs will continue to fall on individuals and their families. Currently about 48 % of nursing home costs are paid for by individuals in the form of out-of-pocket costs. (Testimony before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, March 9, 1998)
bulletLong term care, whether at home or in a nursing home, often can wipe out the life savings of a chronically ill patient in one year or less. (Washington Times,2/16/98)
bulletMedicare covers only skilled daily care up to 100 days, which is less than 9% of nursing home costs.
bulletLong term care is not covered by health insurance or Medigap supplements.
bulletMedicaid patients depend on the government to determine the type of care received.
bulletDue to growing publicity, Americans are waking up to this serious financial risk.


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