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. Recent research suggests that most Americans turning age 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives.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
More people are now living well into their 80’s, and even into their 90’s. Senility, 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.
1 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “Who Needs Care” Accessed March 2021: https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/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.
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