Who Is More Prepared Financially to Handle Long-Term Care: Women or Men?
Many Americans have inaccurate assumptions of how they will pay for long-term care needs. They believe that Medicare, supplemental policies or standard health insurance will cover the expenses. Consequently, they are not adequately (financially) prepared to provide for their future care.
This was evidenced in a survey conducted by market researchers Mathew Greenwald & Associates on behalf of The MetLife Mature Market Institute and AARP Health Care Options. They questioned a demographically balanced sample of 1,000 adults aged 50+ on the source from which they would pay the bulk of their long-term care costs, and more than three in ten named sources that are not feasible. Twenty-one percent of both male and female respondents cited Medicare as their chief means of paying for long-term care. Seven-percent of the men and nine-percent of the women answered health insurance, and three-percent of the men and one-percent of the women answered disability insurance. However, 19% of the male respondents and 13% of the females chose personal investments and assets, and 14% of the men and 16% of the women picked long-term care insurance.
One in five men and women responded that they have a long-term care insurance policy. However, a large proportion of these respondents do not have standalone policies. In actuality, 4% of men and 5% of women said that their policy is part of another health insurance or disability insurance policy, or that their long-term care insurance is a federal program such as Medicaid or Medicare. Only 16% of men and 14% of women said they had a long-term care policy that is separate from other insurance or federal programs.
If forced to rely on only their own savings, investments, and assets, 40% of women believe they don’t have enough money to pay for a single year of nursing home care, which is estimated at around $66,000. Only 31% of men felt that they couldn’t pay for a year’s nursing home care using their personal assets. Sixteen-percent of women and 18% of men reported that they could pay for one or two years of care, but men are almost twice as likely to believe they have enough to pay for at least three years of nursing home care. In fact, 26% of women said that they do not know how many years they could pay, while only 19% of men were unsure about the number of years of care they could pay. The difference between men and women’s ability to pay for nursing home care is not an issue among Boomers, but it emerges as a concern as the age of the respondents increased.
Among those respondents who do not already have long-term care insurance, 42% of men versus 32% of women said that they have considered purchasing coverage at some time. This difference in attitude toward purchasing long-term care insurance is apparent only between married/partnered men and women, and the difference increased as the age of the respondents increased.