If you’re considering the purchase of long term care insurance (LTCI), that’s a reasonable question. What would a good choice look like? Many would define a good choice as one that provides the expected benefits without undue friction from the insurance company. By that standard, LTCI appears to be a very good choice indeed.
Research conducted by LifePlans in conjunction with 11 companies that provide LTCI policies shows that nearly all people (97%) who have received benefits from the policies believe that they made good choices when they decided to purchase policies.
Each company was asked to provide a list of up to 600 people who were actively receiving benefits paid by LTCI policies. LifePlans attempted to contact each of the 5,649 individuals identified by the companies. They completed 1,291 surveys, each of which consisted of 34 questions and took about 15 minutes to complete.
The findings show that today’s LTCI policies are achieving multiple goals for policyholders, including helping them afford services, giving them access to high-quality care, reducing burdens on families, providing choice of service settings, and enabling them to receive care when they need it without delay.
When LTCI policies were first sold in the 1970s, most covered only nursing home care, but the majority of current policies also cover in-home care and assisted living. Nearly half of those surveyed (45%) were still living at home and a third (31%) were in assisted living facilities. Fewer than one-fifth of those who participated were in nursing homes.
The research clearly illustrates the increasing need for long term care insurance as people age, but also shows that nearly one fourth of those who are receiving extended care benefits are under the age of 80, some even before they reach age 65.
The survey also showed the range of needs people have that are paid by long term care policies. Assistance with bathing is the most common need, followed closely by assistance in dressing.
Because most policies now cover various living situations, many of those surveyed had received care in more than one setting: 36% of those in nursing homes had received care prior previously in other locations, most often in an assisted living facility. More than 80% of policies currently in force cover both home care and nursing home costs while 11% cover only nursing home costs and 6% are limited to in home care.
The ease of filing claims is a key factor in determining a policy owner’s satisfaction and 78% of those who responded to the survey reported that the process was easy. Additionally, 86% said that they had no problem understanding what their policy covered.
Nearly 9 in 10 respondents (88%) said that they are satisfied with the amount of coverage they purchased and 97% said that they are satisfied overall with the benefits they receive from their long term care policy.
Having a long term care policy carries the additional benefit of being able to afford higher-quality care than would have been possible without the policy according to 79% of those who participated in the survey. Additionally, nearly a quarter of participants (22%) would have put off obtaining paid assistance had they not had a long term care policy.
To read or download the full 28-page survey results, click here.
Participating insurance companies:
Ability Re, Bankers Life and Casualty,
Genworth Financial, John Hancock,
Mutual of Omaha, New York Life,
Penn Treaty, Prudential, and
Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania