Risk of Needing Long-Term Care

According to the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information, a person’s lifetime risk of needing long-term care services in their lifetime is 1 out of 2; that’s a 50% risk. As age increases, so does the likelihood of needing long-term care, 70% of people over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care services during their lifetime.1 Remember that long-term care is something you may need before 65 years of age; about 50% of people who currently need long-term care services are under the age of 65.2

Let’s compare the risk:

  • Automobile accident 1 out of 240 [0.4%]3
  • Fire damaging your home 1 out of 1,200 [0.08%] 3
  • Missing 90 days of work due to a disability is just under 1 in 3 [33%]4
  • Needing long term care assistance in your lifetime 1 out of 2 [50%]3

There are factors that increase your risk of needing long-term care, which include:

  • Family History— of chronic conditions or illness, for example Alzheimer’s, stroke or arthritis
  • Age— the older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll need care
  • Gender— women generally live longer than men, increasing their risk of needing care
  • Living Situation— if you live alone and don’t have the “built-in caregiver”
  • Lifestyle— poor diet and exercise habits
  • Personal History— your personal health history and risk factors

When you consider the odds of facing a long-term care situation, it’s easy to realize that this is something that you should plan for. Improvements in medical technology have dramatically increased the life expectancy of our population, prolonging the lives of many and increasing the number who may require long-term care.

More people are now living well into their 80’s, and even into their 90’s. Senile, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease have become leading causes of the need for long-term care. Other causes include complications resulting from chronic and crippling arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, and strokes.

Medicare now pays less of your health care costs due to increases in the deductibles and “Part A” co-insurance payments. Additionally, the Diagnostic Related Groups prospective payment system (the program that sets per-ailment ceilings on Medicare’s payment to a hospital) is still in effect. Because of these mandated time limits, hospitals are transferring patients faster and sicker to lower-cost nursing home or extended-care facilities of the remainder of their recovery period. The vast majority of these stays are considered “custodial” and are not paid for by Medicare. This can result in substantial out-of-pocket expense.

As a result, the need for long-term care is impacting more and more American families and threatening the financial stability of those without the means to cover the high cost of LTC expense. These families are trying to answer some difficult questions. They are trying to figure out how they are going to take care of themselves, their parents and grandparents, and still provide for the education of their children and for their own retirement.

Like most people, you want to:

  • Maintain your financial independence
  • Preserve the wealth you’ve worked so hard for over your lifetime
  • Avoid burdening family and friends with your care
  • Protect your ability to remain independent
  • Have access to quality care
Long-Term Care Insurance helps you to achieve these goals and protect what is most important to you.

 

1 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “Who Needs Care” Accessed June 2015: http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/who-needs-care/
2 Kaiser Commission on Medicaid Facts. “Medicaid and the Uninsured”. June 2012.
3 Hayes, Robert D., Nancy G. Boyd, and Kenneth W. Hollman. “What Attorneys Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance”. 1999. The Elder Law Journal, Vol. 7, No. 1.
4 America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Baby Boomer Awareness of Disability Risk Study. 2008.