About 180,000 Americans with long term care insurance policies were paid benefits in 2007, according to a new study by the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, which says this is the first time information was gathered on the total number of individuals on claim.
The LTC insurance industry paid out $3.5 billion in benefits to individuals last year, up from $3.3 billion the year before, the association reports.
The study covered over 60 insurers, representing 98% of all LTC policies currently in force, AALTCI says.
The association’s study revealed that 43% of claims paid in 2007 were for home care, 32.9% for assisted living and 24.1% for nursing home care.
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Of policies sold last year, 97% provided for some form of home care, up from 86% in 2000 and 67% in 1995, AALTCI says.
For new claims, 32.3% were for individuals aged between 70 and 79, while 55.2% began for those aged 80 or over and 11.5% were for those between 50 and 69.
The youngest individual on claim (a group insured) was 23, AALTCI found.
The 5 most common reasons for an LTC claim were Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, circulatory issues or injury.
“One in 8 persons age 65 and over has Alzheimer’s,” says Jesse Slome, executive director of AALTCI. “The number of new cases is expected to increase to 450,000 a year by 2010 and to 615,000 a year by 2030.”
Women comprise around 66% of people on claim and receive just over 66% of all claim dollars. “Women, especially those who are divorced, widowed or living alone, need to plan for the risk,” Slome advises.