Long term care costs threaten to swamp the federal budget and bankrupt publicly financed health programs, and a survey from America’s Health Insurance Plans finds that the problem may not get better anytime soon – if baby boomers don’t get their acts together.

One in four boomers believes – erroneously – that he has long term care coverage. Nearly 18 million boomers think they have coverage that doesn’t exist.

“This should be a wakeup call to baby boomers,” says Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of AHIP. “They aren’t factoring expenses for long term care into their retirement planning and are missing an opportunity to protect themselves.”

Some of the findings from AHIP’s ongoing survey and focus group research give advisors insight into boomer thinking:

  • Most boomers have not focused on planning for LTC expenses. Only one in four boomers nearing age 60 is very familiar with LCTI. Forty-one percent say they have not had any LTCI discussions in the last 12 months.
  • Fifty-four percent of boomers think Medicare will pay for LTC services. Forty four percent inaccurately believe “other” health insurance will pay. Half of those who say they have LTCI still believe Medicare will pay for care.
  • Millions of boomers are in for a surprise. Thirty percent of the 76 million boomers think they have LTCI coverage, but the NAIC says roughly 5.2 million Americans have LTCI. That is less than 10 percent of just the boomer population.

To find out more about this ongoing survey and its data, visit www.ahip.org.