Americans in Denial About Need for Long-Term Care: Study

Men are more likely than women to purchase insurance, Genworth says

Looks like long-term care is still a source of confusion if not outright denial for most Americans. Genworth’s 2011 Financial Reality Check, released Tuesday, found that 75% of Americans have never had a conversation about long-term care with their loved ones and 70% would not know what to do if a family member were to require immediate long-term care. Just 38% think they’ll even need long-term care one day.

Women are especially vulnerable as they are most likely to serve as primary caregivers while they are young before needing care of their own in later years. Of respondents who said they would likely provide long-term care to a family member, 60% were women.

“Without ensuring there is an adequate plan in place for their own care, women are putting themselves in serious danger,” Wendy Boglioli said for Genworth. “It’s imperative for women to redefine balance in their lives and have a clear plan in place for their long-term care.”

Boglioli is Genworth’s national long-term care spokesperson and an Olympic gold medalist.

Despite longer lifespans, women don’t prioritize long-term care for themselves, according to Genworth. Less than a third have purchased long-term care insurance in the last six to 10 years compared with 69% of men.

Advisors can use their influence to persuade clients to purchase LTCI, though. The second most popular reason for purchasing a policy is because an advisor or agent recommended it. (The most popular reason was simply that they reached a certain age. The majority of respondents feel that baby boomers are just the right age to purchase LTCI.)

Of those who were compelled to purchase long-term care insurance, most did so between two and five months following the trigger. One-quarter waited between six and 11 months, and 24% purchased a policy within one month.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they wouldn’t be willing to quit their job, work less or devote a majority of their time, if a family member needed care. While they would be willing to “make arrangement” for in-home care, only 16% said they would be willing to help fund long-term care.

The study was conducted in late August among over 1,000 American adults over 25 with income of at least $50,000 per year.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.