NU Online News Service, May 23, 2003, 5:13 p.m. EDT – Roughly three-quarters of U.S. residents over age 44 are familiar with the major long-term care options, but only 17% say they now have insurance to cover long-term care costs, according to survey results released by the American Society on Aging, San Francisco.

The researchers who conducted the survey, which was funded by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Bloomington, Ill., found that two-thirds of the participants believe that having enough money to be able to choose a long-term care facility for themselves or someone close to them is very important, and that 77% of the participants who are still working are putting aside money for retirement.

But only 37% of the participants say they have saved anything to cover long-term care costs.

Although the survey participants had some familiarity with long-term care, more than 40% were unaware of Medicare limits on coverage for skilled nursing care, and 46% of those who have major medical insurance believe their health insurance will cover extended use of skilled nursing care.

Thirty percent of the survey participants were unaware that older people must deplete most of their financial resources to qualify for Medicaid long-term care assistance.