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LTC Payouts: $3.5 Billion in '07

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Approximately 180,000 Americans with long-term care insurance policies were paid benefits in 2007, with the long-term care industry paying out $3.5 billion in benefits last year, according to a recently released study by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).

The study–which included data from over 60 long-term care insurers who represent 98% of all policies currently in force–was the first time the total number of individuals on claim was gathered, AALTCI says.

Jesse Slome, executive director of AALTCI, says 400,000 new policies were issued last year alone. “As more individuals become aware of, and understand the importance of, planning for long-term care needs, the number of individuals and families deriving benefit from this coverage will only increase,” he says.

While most people associate long-term care insurance with nursing home care, Slome says, “quite the opposite is true.” According to the study, 43% of claims paid in 2007 were attributed to home care. Nearly one-third (32.9%) of claims were for assisted living and 24.1% covered nursing home care. Over 97% of long-term care insurance policies sold provide some form of home care benefit; in 2000, 86% did so, while in 1995 only 67% did.