Long-term care insurance: Survey reveals
that few people understand LTC financing


Nearly 50% of people surveyed
do not understand long-term care insurance:

by Tracy A. Blankenheim


       Few people understand long-term care insurance and who will take care of their long-term care financing needs when the time comes, according to a new study. The results of the first part of a three-part study conducted by the Center for Aging Research and Education, Southhampton, NY, were recently released. The first part consisted of an online survey and targeted nearly 600 men and women at Web sites geared toward aging and finance issues. Questions covered areas such as the next president's role in setting long-term care policy, government's role in providing services, the importance of quality of life versus quantity of life, responsibility for caregiving, barriers to purchasing long-term care insurance and the effects of aging baby boomers on future resources. Christopher Hayes, executive director of the center and professor of gerontology at Southhampton College, Long Island University, NY, said one of the most surprising findings of the online portion of the survey was the "tremendous" lack of understanding about long-term care insurance, particularly what it covers and what it costs. The report revealed that 49% of people do not understand long-term care insurance.

      "We discovered that people who consider themselves fairly knowledgeable on issues related to investing and financial products overestimate long-term care insurance premiums by as much as 500%," Hayes said. "People are also unsure of what long-term care insurance covers, believing that it covers nursing homes and nursing homes alone. We found that there needs to be a massive overhaul in how to position, present and package long-term care insurance." The other surprising finding of the online portion of the study was the misconception people have over who will take care of their long-term care needs. The survey revealed that nearly 50% of respondents believed that their spouse will be there to take care of them, while 22% indicated private insurance and 12% said their children. "There is this notion that their family, specifically their spouse, will take care of their long-term care needs, and this is a major misconception," Hayes noted. "Statistics indicate that singleness is pervasive among this population group."




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