Economy Impacts Women's Ability to Plan for Long-Term Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

The economic downturn has affected women’s ability to plan and prepare for the risk of needing long-term care according to a report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry's trade organization.

Various studies compiled by the organization reveal that women have especially been affected by the recent economic conditions and loss of employment.

Most women realize their risk of needing long-term care services, but many are not taking steps to protect themselves. Three out of four women surveyed by America's Health Insurance Plans said they have at least a 40 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care during their lifetimes, such as care in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, or by a home health care provider. However, only 35 percent of women said they have actively thought about or planned for how they will cover those costs, and just 38 percent of women said they were at least somewhat prepared to cover long-term care expenses should they need it.


In addition, many women have a false sense of protection against the high cost of long-term care. Nearly 20 percent of women participating in a national survey believe they already have long-term care coverage. In reality, only about 5 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 45 have actually purchased long-term care insurance, suggesting that many of the women surveyed incorrectly believe they have long-term care coverage.

For those who said they do not have long-term care insurance, 42 percent said they would rely on government programs, such as Medicaid, to cover long-term care costs. Other said they would sell assets (31 percent), use their retirement savings (31 percent), or rely on family and friends (12 percent) to help with these costs. Twenty-three percent incorrectly believe that other insurance would provide assistance for long-term care costs.

According to the Woman's Guide To Long-Term Care Insurance Protection, women have both a greater need for long-term care insurance coverage and are far more likely to receive benefit from an insurance policy. The book reports that two-thirds of all long-term care insurance claims are paid to women. Nearly half (41 percent) are paid to single women and some 25 percent to married women.

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance