One of the key points of contention in the current debate on a national health care program is whether the high cost of service will result in a federal agency being tasked with the decision to ‘pull the plug on Grandma’. In reality, consumers may find themselves financially stressed by the need to provide long-term care for older relatives who are not critically ill but just need extra assistance with the tasks of daily life. It’s not yet clear what type of health insurance program will come into effect but it’s a fair bet that long-term care costs may not fall under the national umbrella. A recent MetLife Long-Term Care IQ survey finds that consumers need more education on the features and benefits of such programs, especially as the median age of consumers continues to increase.
Survey results indicate:
- 70% of consumers over age 65 require long-term care services at some point
- Most long-term care services occur at home
- 20% of consumers provide home-based care for an adult
Long-term care services are currently covered only by private insurance. In the next 30 years, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. consumers will be over the age of 65 and become members of the group that most heavily uses long-term care insurance. Because of the outlook for the long-term care industry and the age demographics in the U.S., companies offering these policies should be increasing consumer education and marketing campaigns.[Source: MetLife Release, September 20, 2009]