More than half of older Idaho residents think Medicare will pay their LTC bills.

More than half of Idaho residents ages 50 and older think they’ll pay for long-term care (LTC) with money from a program that usually does not pay for LTC.

Researchers at the Boise State University Center for the Study of Aging have published that finding in a needs assessment survey report prepared for the Idaho Commission on Aging.

The researchers conducted a statewide survey of individuals ages 50 and older by mailing survey forms and giving forms to diners at several meal sites run by Idaho agencies that help the elderly. The researchers received 814 responses.

How Will Idaho Residents Pay for LTC?
Medicare 51%
LTCI 16%
Medicaid 6%
Other 27%
Source: Boise State University Center for the Study of Aging

About 21% of all survey participants and 24% of the participants ages 66 and older said they have long-term care insurance (LTCI), but only 16% of the participants said they expected to pay for LTC with LTCI coverage.

A majority — 51% — said they expect Medicare to pay for any LTC they need.

The survey report might have overstated the percentage of participants own private LTCI coverage.

The researchers stated in the survey that LTCI is insurance that pays for long-term care services such as nursing home and home care.

Just as some survey participants seemed to think Medicare would pay for their LTC, some of the participants who said they had LTCI coverage may have been assuming that Medicare, a Medicare supplement policy, or some other type of policy that does not normally pay for LTC services would help them pay for LTC. 

“It is imperative that seniors receive more education about long-term care issues,” the researchers write in a discussion of the results.

The researchers also asked survey participants about caregiving.

Informal caregivers in Idaho said they spend an average of $293 of their own money per month on the care recipients.

A caregiver who was caring for a parent spent an average of 10 hours per week caring for the parent.

A caregiver who was caring for a spouse spent an average of 68 hours per week caring for the spouse.