Most Long-Term Care Claimants Are Younger Than You Think
UnumProvident Corp.’s “Landscape of Long-Term Care” profile of its claims activity revealed that almost 58 percent of group long-term care claimants are younger than 65. It also showed that the top five claims causes are cancer, stroke, neurological disease, dementia and multiple sclerosis.
The insurer noted that its group policies cover about 550,000 employees, and that approximately 200,000 individual long-term care policies are in force.
Additional data uncovered in its analysis of group long-term care claims included:
· More than 66 percent of all claimants under 65 received care at home, while 17 percent received nursing home care. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners estimates the average cost of nursing home care at approximately $70,000 per year.
· A typical claim for UnumProvident policyholders under 65 lasts a year or longer.
· The average age of under-65 claimants is 53, with more than 15 percent younger than 45.
The company also indicated that the conditions affecting these under-65 claimants could require months if not years of treatment and care. In addition, many of these conditions worsen, as the claimants age. Considering that more young people are suffering from conditions like obesity and diabetes, the expectation is that incidence rates will continue to rise for this age group.
The report also referenced U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that approximately 10 million people need long-term care today. This figure was compared to a January 2006 Wall Street Journal/Harris poll that found just 9 percent of those surveyed had purchased long-term care insurance. The researchers concluded that the low number of long-term care insurance purchasers is indicative of the lack of education for this coverage and unawareness of the financial risk assumed without carrying coverage.
The most important result of this study, however, was to shatter the myth that long-term care means end-of-life care. The claims analysis shows that both group and individual long-term care insurance is frequently used at much younger ages, a fact that should motivate more employers to offer this important benefit. It should also serve to remind individuals to talk with their insurance agent Brian Gruss 509-927-9200 about protecting themselves from the financial risks associated with long-term care.