Nearly 30% of long term care costs are paid out of pocket, a new analysis by Avalere Health L.L.C., Washington, D.C., finds.

Avalere notes that its study includes spending on assisted living.

This analysis, sponsored by SCAN Health Plan, Long Beach, Calif., estimates that individuals and their families contributed $64 billion of their own funds towards LTC services in 2006. In addition, families and communities provided unpaid care valued at $350 billion, Avalere says. Private health and LTC insurance contributed only a little over $16 billion.

To finance these contributions, most seniors and their families rely on home equity, income from adult children, or retirement savings, Avalere reports. It points out that the shrinking value of these asset classes over the past year has resulted in diminishing funding capacity as the long term care population grows steadily.

Avalere noted that the LTC need among individuals 85 and older is 36%, nearly 4 times as high as the need in the age 65 to 84 population (10%). The proportion of those over age 85 is expected to be nearly one-fifth of the elderly population by 2050, Avalere notes.