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Scan: Many high-income seniors have LTCI

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Long-term care insurance (LTCI) insurers and producers have done much better at selling coverage to the older Americans who can actually afford private LTCI than overall market penetration figures might suggest.

Analysts at the Scan Foundation, a think tank that focuses on issues related to health care for seniors, have published charts supporting the idea that many higher-income seniors do have private LTCI coverage in a collection of aging “data briefs.”

LTCI marketers and government policymakers have complained that adoption of private LTCI remains relatively low.

The Scan analysts dug deeper, using data from Avalere Health to look at U.S. residents over age 65 who either needed help in 2008 with one or more “activities of daily living” or  who suffered from a cognitive impairment.

Fewer than 5 percent of the seniors in that group who had annual household incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) had private LTCI coverage, and only about 10 percent of the seniors in that category who had incomes of 133 percent to 300 percent of the FPL have private LTCI coverage.

But more than 10 percent of the seniors in the group with incomes from 300 percent to 500 percent of the FPL had private LTCI coverage, and penetration may have been close to 20 percent for seniors with incomes over 500 percent of the FPL, the analysts said. 

The analysts also looked at nursing homes and found that, although some survey teams have found evidence of moderation in LTC provider cost growth, the types of care that families can get from a typical LTC provider may be shrinking. Residential care facilities are now considerably less likely to serve seniors who need skilled nursing care than they were back in 1999, the analysts found.

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