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How Your Retired Prospects' Coverage Has Changed

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(Related: Critical Illness Market Keeps Growing: Gen Re)

U.S. retirees may be covering their eyes and teeth better, but they may have less protection against long-term care (LTC) and disability risk than they did just two years ago.

Gaps you could, possibly, fill show up in a new report from a think tank with ties to the insurance industry.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released a new batch of U.S. retiree survey data today.

The percentage of survey participants with Medicare or some other type of major medical coverage held steady at 84%, according to a comparison of the new results with results from a similar Transamerica center survey report released in 2016.

The percentage with dental insurance increased a little, and the percentage with vision insurance increased a lot: 40% now have dental coverage, and 35% have vision coverage.

But the percentage with disability insurance fell a little, and the percentage with private long-term care insurance (LTCI) fell a lot, to just 12%.

The drop in LTCI use may be due to some insurers’ retreat from that market, but the drop in critical illness insurance use may represent a real gap between what insurers sold and what they’d like to sell.

For more details about how retiree use of seven types of coverage has changed since 2016, see the data cards in the slideshow above.

Survey Details

Transamerica center analysts based the new batch of data on a survey of 2,043 retired or semi-retired U.S. residents ages 50 and older. The survey was conducted in July.

One part of the survey reports shows what insurance products the survey participants own.

The Transamerica center’s 2016 report was based on a survey conducted in July 2015, of 2,012 U.S. residents ages 50 and older. All of those survey participants were fully or partly retired.

The product lists used in the survey questionnaires changed between 2016 and 2018.

Another factor that could affect interpretation of the data is consumers’ lack of familiarity with some types of insurance products.

Consumers’ understanding of the term “life insurance,” for example, may be a lot stronger, and a lot more stable, than their understanding of the term “long-term care insurance.”

Efforts to build LTC benefits, or LTC-like benefits, into life insurance, annuity and some types of Medicare plans may add to the difficulty of getting reliable LTCI ownership data.


Links to the Transamerica center retiree survey reports, and related documents, are available here.

— Read How Rising Health Care Premiums Impact Retirement Savingson ThinkAdvisor.

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