BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY COMPANY STUDY FINDS CONFUSION IS THE NORM WHEN IT COMES TO LONG TERM CARE COVERAGE
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
CHICAGO (November 23, 2004) - Though the cost
of nursing home care now averages $56,000 a year, according to a
fact sheet from the National Governors Association (NGA), the
overwhelming majority of seniors don't purchase the insurance that
could help them avoid such a financial burden. So says a recent
study by Bankers Life and Casualty Company.
In it's Aging in America survey, conducted nationwide
in 2003-2004 by Synovate, Inc., Bankers found that 30% of seniors
believe they own long term care coverage. In fact, industry experts
estimate less than 10 percent of seniors eligible for long term
care insurance actually own it.
Sixty percent of seniors believe Medicare will cover long term
care costs. In fact, Medicare usually covers only 100 days of
skilled nursing care and only if it follows a hospital discharge.
It does not provide for extended community or institutional
"It's true that many people, both seniors and their adult
children, are confused about long term care insurance," said Dan
Veto, Bankers senior vice president of marketing. "Often they are
relying on Medicare, though it really covers long term care
expenses only in certain circumstances and not for most people who
Because of the high cost of nursing home care and assisted
living, most people can benefit from buying a long term care
insurance plan. Benefits vary from plan to plan but usually include
the cost of skilled nursing in-home, nursing home costs, equipment
prescribed by a doctor such as wheel chairs, general non-medical
assistance, such as help with cooking, housekeeping and dressing,
and other common needs for people with chronic illness or
disabilities associated with aging.
"The wonderful thing about these policies," continued Veto, "is
that many people find that if they can meet the costs of at-home
care, they don't need to go into a facility at all. It allows them
to be cared for at home, while retaining control of their
Bankers, one of the largest providers of long term care
insurance in the United States, found that the adult children of
seniors are equally confused about long term care insurance. About
42 percent believe their parents have long term care insurance or
are covered by Medicare.
Paying for long term care has created such concern for states'
governors, the NGA declared it the Chairman's initiative for
2003-2004. "The combination of high life expectancy and increased
rates of chronic illness paints a bleak picture for our nation's
long term care system," said Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, Idaho, in his
inaugural address to the NGA, in 2003. The governors believe the
solution must be a private-public partnership.
Established in 1879 and headquartered at the historic
Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty
Company focuses exclusively on the financial security needs of
seniors. The company offers a broad portfolio of health and life
insurance and retirement savings products designed especially for
seniors. These products are distributed through a national network
of professionally trained company agents. Visit us online at www.bankers.com.