A quick glance at the new cause-of-death figures out from the National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Md., should be a heads-up for long term care insurance practitioners.
First, the top 10 causes of death are about the same for people of all ages as for older people ages 65 and up. (See the table below for the comparison.)
Significantly, many of those causes are ones that often trigger long term care–and the need for LTC funding. Episodes of serious heart disease, cancer and diabetes come to mind.
Also worth noting is that the first four leading causes of death are identical in the All ages group and the Age 65+ group. These are diseases of the heart, malignant neoplasms (tumors), cerebrovascular diseases and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
By comparison, the top four causes of death among younger adults, ages 25 to 44, are different in significant areas–accidents rank number one, and suicide number four. (Malignant neoplasms and diseases of the heart are numbers two and three.) Suicide was not even on the older age list.
Some younger consumers might take those top four causes of death for Ages 25 to 44 as a reason not to buy LTC insurance or even think about LTC.
After all, they may reason, at least two of the top four–accidents and suicide–are often within the individual’s control and, as such, are not a serious risk for the safety-minded among them. They may also point out that that many accidents and all suicides are not likely to cause a LTC event, “so, what’s the problem?”
However, if these same younger adults are shown the causes of death at the older ages, they might change their tune. They may come to understand–with the advisor’s help–that all top four causes of death at the older ages could be preceded by a LTC event.
A final point worth noting: From fifth place on, the older age list shows very common causes of death for elders–Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, and so on. This is not surprising.
But the ninth cause of death among older people–accidents–may be startling to some observers. After all, as the vital statistics research shows, this is the number one cause of death for younger adults who live a much more active lifestyle. How could accidents even rank in ninth place as a cause of death for older folks who are much less active?