Small employers may be much less likely to offer long term care insurance benefits this year than they were in 2007.

Researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., and the Health Research & Educational Trust, Washington, have included that finding deep in a report based on a survey of 2,088 U.S. employers.

The researchers commissioned the survey mainly to measure changes in acute care benefits, but they also asked briefly about LTC benefits.

The percentage of all participating firms offering LTC benefits fell to 11% this year, from 19%, the researchers say.

The LTC offered rate fell to 20%, from 25%, at firms with 200 or more workers, and it sank to 11%, from 19%, at firms with 3 to 200 workers.

When the researchers broke the data down by region, they found the LTC offered rate decline was especially rapid in the Midwest: There, the offered rate plunged to just 7%, from 27%.

In the West, the LTC offered rate increased to 18%, from 17%.

- Allison Bell

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