Why should I buy long-term care insurance?

Costs for long-term care can be significant, and statistics show that of 9.3 million Americans receiving assistance with activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living, 77% have been receiving care for more than one year and of that number, 29% have been receiving care for more than 5 years.1

By purchasing long-term care insurance, you accomplish four key objectives:

  1. You provide yourself with greater control over how and where you will receive care. You are not limited by the options available through Medicaid.
  2. You reduce your dependency on family members, and avoid becoming a burden to them.
  3. You preserve your assets – very important if you will recover from this disability, if you have a surviving spouse, or if you want to leave a legacy to your heirs.
  4. You increase the likelihood that all of your needs for assistance will be met. A government study found that “lacking the necessary assistance with ADLs, approximately one half of those in need experienced a serious negative consequence such as burns from bath water, weight loss, or being chair- or bed-bound.” 2

Therefore, unless you have a net worth in excess of $5 million, chances are you should buy long-term care insurance coverage. Even individuals with net worth in excess of $5 million may want to purchase LTC insurance, if any of the objectives listed above are important to them.


1 J. M. McNeil, “Americans with Disabilities: 1994-95,” P70-61, n.pag., detailed table 12. Internet, August 14, 2000. Available: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/disable/sipp/disable9495.html.
2 Health, United States, 1999 with Health and Aging Chartbook, (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 1999), 60.