Companies are much more willing than they used to be to help workers pay for long term care insurance benefits.

The percentage of employers willing to pay a share of the LTC premium has increased to more than 90%, from almost none just a few years ago, according to Unum, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Unum LTC benefits sales were up 26% during the first half of the year, and the number of new enrollees was 54% higher than in the first half of 2006, Unum reports.

The average age of issue for a group LTC policyholder fell to 43.5 in 2006, from 47 in 2000.

Unum group LTC coverage has been especially popular at law firms, medical practices, insurance brokerages, management consulting firms and engineering firms, Unum says.