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MetLife: LTC Still A Mystery

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Americans’ knowledge of long term care is about as scanty as it was 5 years ago.

Researchers at the MetLife Mature Market Institute, Westport, Conn., have published that finding in a summary of results from a recent LTC “survey of about 1,000 U.S. residents ages 40 to 70.

Participants earned an average score of 52% on the LTC “IQ test” survey. The average score was also 52% in 2004, when the institute conducted a similar survey.

Just 21% of the participants in the latest survey scored 70% or higher.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute, backed by MetLife Inc., New York, found that most Americans know what long term care is and roughly how much it costs, but that they are largely uncertain about how many people eventually will need long term care and how those people will pay for the care.

About 87% knew that a comprehensive LTC policy covers home care, assisted living care and nursing home care, and 64% understood that transferring financial assets to relatives will not allow an individual to qualify immediately for Medicaid nursing home benefits. About 43% correctly estimated the national average monthly cost of assisted living care.

But only 36% knew that 60% to 70% of 65-year-olds will require LTC services at some point in their lives, and just 18% knew that LTC insurance rates are based on age.

About 66% were unable to identify programs or insurance policies that might pay for long term care.