Long term care insurance insurability declines rapidly as individuals age.

U.S. long term care insurers rejected just 14% of applicants ages 50 to 59 in 2008, but they rejected 23% of the applicants in the 60-69 age group, according to researchers at the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, Westlake Village, Calif.

The researchers based those figures on a survey of 10 insurers.

In addition to looking at decline rates, the researchers looked at the percentage of applicants offered good health discounts.

In the 40-49 age group, for example, the percentage of applicants qualifying for good health discounts rose to 67%, up from 54% in 2005, the researchers report.

About 51% of the applicants in the 50-59 age group qualified for good health discounts.

A total of 400,000 U.S. residents bought LTC coverage in 2008, the AALTCI researchers estimate.