NU Online News Service, June 9, 2003, 4:09 p.m. EDT – U.S. workers say long term care insurance benefits are as important as group life insurance benefits, according to results of a survey released by Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J.

Researchers polled 300 U.S. residents for the survey in March. The participants were between the ages of 25 and 65, worked for companies with at least 500 employees and had annual household incomes of at least $40,000.

Researchers asked each participant to consider a 100-point “benefits pie” and allocate points to various benefits to indicate the importance of those benefits.

Participants gave an average of 38 points to health insurance and 27 points to retirement benefits.

Life insurance and long term care insurance each averaged 12 points, and disability insurance averaged 11 points, Prudential says.

Sixty-two percent of the survey participants said they would consider buying long term care insurance as a voluntary benefit if their employers offered it. Eighty-two percent would consider buying coverage if their employers subsidized a portion of the cost.

When participants were told to assume that employers would cover at least some of the expense, the percentage of participants who said they would “definitely” buy LTC insurance doubled to 30%, from 14%.

But the researchers found that consumers are still learning about LTC insurance. Only 30% have talked to financial professionals about the product, and only 14% feel very familiar with it, Prudential says.