Study Finds Affluent Far More Likely to Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance

Private insurance to cover long-term care needs remains relatively rare, but coverage rates are nearly twice as high among those with annual incomes in excess of $100,000, according to a new report by the Urban Institute.

The report found that although only 10.7 percent of Americans age 55 and older had private long-term care insurance in 2008, coverage rates increase with income, reaching 19.3 percent for those whose annual incomes exceeded $100,000. By contrast, only about 3 percent of those age 55 and older with incomes below $20,000 had private coverage. While 12.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites had long-term care insurance policies, only 3 percent of African Americans and only 2.4 percent of Hispanics had them.

Still, the report found that coverage rates have increased somewhat in recent years. In 2002, 9.1 percent of Americans age 55 and older had private long-term care insurance.

Meanwhile, overall sales of long-term care insurance policies increased in 2010 according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry trade group. The Association reports that individuals who purchased long-term care insurance protection in 2010 continued to favor limited-duration policies, with more than half of new purchasers selecting policies with a benefit period of four years or less. (For more on this option and on considerations in purchasing long-term care insurance in general, click here.)

To read the Urban Institute report, "Who Purchases Long-Term Care Insurance?" click here.