Is long-term care insurance really necessary for most people, especially those who are young?

One of the most common misconceptions about long-term care insurance is that only the elderly need long-term care. In reality, many working age adults experience disabling injuries and illnesses that require ongoing care. Consider the following statistics:

  • In 1995, approximately 25.6 million Americans not living in long-term care facilities were severely disabled1 This represents 9.9% of the total population.
  • An estimated 12.8 million Americans need long-term care. Of these, 10.4 million (81%) live at home or in community settings and 2.4 million (19%) live in institutions;2
  • 5.1 million (40%) are working age adults between the ages of 18 and 64.3
  • 6.2 million (48%) have difficulty performing one or more of the activities of daily living (ADLs), including 3.8 million adults who live outside of institutions.4

 

1 J. M. McNeil, “Americans with Disabilities: 1994-95,” P70-61, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, August 1997), 6, table 1. Internet, August 14, 2000. Available: http://www.sipp.census.gov/sipp/pubsmain.htm.
2 Jane L. Ross, “Long-Term Care: Diverse, Growing Population Includes Millions of Americans of All Ages,” GAO/HEHS-95-26, (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office), 5. Internet, August 15, 2000. Available: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/useftp.cgi?filename=he95026.pdf&directory=/diskb/wais/data/gao.
3 Jane L. Ross, “Long-Term Care: Diverse, Growing Population Includes Millions of Americans of All Ages,” GAO/HEHS-95-26, (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office), 5. Internet, August 15, 2000. Available: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/useftp.cgi?filename=he95026.pdf&directory=/diskb/wais/data/gao.
4 Jane L. Ross, “Long-Term Care: Diverse, Growing Population Includes Millions of Americans of All Ages,” GAO/HEHS-95-26, (Washington, DC: General Accounting Office), 6. Internet, August 15, 2000. Available: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/useftp.cgi?filename=he95026.pdf&directory=/diskb/wais/data/gao.
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