U.S. long term care insurers are about 10 times more likely to turn down applicants over age 80 than they are to turn down applicants under age 50.

Researchers at the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, Westlake Village, Calif., came up with those figures by looking at 250,000 LTC insurance applications submitted in 2007 to 10 top LTC insurance carriers.

The proportion of applicants rejected ranged from 7% for applicants under age 50 to about 70% for applicants ages 80 and older.

The proportion of applicants declined was 14% in the 50-59 age group; 23% in the 60-69 age group and 45% in the 70-79 age group.

AALTCI researchers also looked at the percentage of applicants who qualified for preferred-health discounts.

The proportion of accepted applicants who qualified for the discounts increased to 52% for the 50-59 age group, from 44% in 2005.

The preferred-health offer rate increased to 42%, from 32%, for the 60-69 age group; to 24%, from 19%, for the 70-79 age group; and to 13%, from 11%, for the 80-and-up age group.

About 83% of the 400,000 U.S. residents who obtained LTC coverage in 2007 were under age 65, AALTCI researchers report.