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CDC: Americans continue to face more activity limits

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Americans seem to be suffering from more restrictions on activities – but the condition of the kinds of people that disability insurers and long-term care insurers typically cover may be stabilizing.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published new activity limit figures in a table based on the latest National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

The CDC included the table in its new Health, United States, 2012 health data almanac.

Long-term care insurance (LTCI) companies often use information about limits on activities of daily living (ADLs), such as walking and dressing, to decide whether the people they insure are eligible for LTCI benefits.

The CDC put Medicare enrollee ADL data in the 2012 health almanac, but they also included data based on a broader question about “complex activity limitations.” The definition of complex activity limitations includes ADLs and also includes restrictions in an individual’s ability to work, maintain a household or participate in a community activities.

The NHIS 2011 interview sample included about 46,000 people who live outside institutions.

For people ages 18 to 64, the percentage of people with at least one complex activity limitation increased to 12.5 percent in 2011, up from 12.1 percent in 2010 and just 9.8 percent in 2000.

For people ages 65 and older, the share with complex activity limitations increased to 33.2 percent, from 32.3 percent the year before and 32 percent in 2000.

For people ages 18 to 64 with incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level, the limitation rate was much lower, but rising.

The rate was 6.2 percent in 2011, up from 5.8 percent in 2010, and up from 5 percent in 2000.

But the rate held just about steady for people ages 65 and older with incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The percentage of those people with complex activity limitations was 19.8 percent in 2011, the same as in 2010, and up only slightly — from 19.6 percent — in 2000.

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