About 90% of Americans do not have a realistic plan to pay for long term care expenses, a survey by the LIFE Foundation finds.

LIFE, Arlington, Va., also asked Americans what they would rely on most to provide LTC services if they needed them. The top response, by 23% of survey participants, was family and friends.

Other answers were: health insurance, 20 %; Medicare, 16%; savings, 13%; social security benefits, 11%; LTC insurance, 10%; and Medicaid, 7%.

The results show some confusion about how to pay for LTC, commented Deb Newman, president of Newman Long Term Care, Bloomington, Minn., and a LIFE Foundation board member.

“Health insurance will not cover long term care services, and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid have many limitations,” she points out. “That is why it is critical for Americans to take steps to protect themselves with long term care insurance.”

The LIFE Survey was conducted on-line among 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older by Kelton Research, Culver City, Calif.