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Long-Term Care

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Long Term Care Insurance Demystified - 
Who Needs It, Who Doesn't and Why

(Page 4 of 5)

The question becomes one of who is really at risk. It may be that long-term care is primarily a women's issue. Have you ever visited a nursing home? Who are the nursing home residents, by and large?  If your experience reflects the published reports, you know that the nursing home population consists primarily of elderly women - single, elderly women.

Findings of a study conducted by the Medicaid Department of the State of New York reveal some interesting facts:

  • Eighty percent of nursing home admissions are women.
  • The average admission age of these women is 82.
  • At age 82, most women are single, or widowed.
  • Compared to men, women are confined 50 percent longer.

Conclusion:  Men die!

If a man doesn't die suddenly, he often becomes ill and his wife takes care of him until he dies. Or, his wife cares for him as long as she's able to so do. When she simply can no longer handle things, she admits him to a nursing home and shortly thereafter he dies. Therefore, facility care clearly seems to be a women's problem. Women bear the most risk!

The Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Long Term Care Policies published length-of-stay figures. The statistics indicate that 52% of all people admitted to nursing homes stay less than 90 days and 63% stay for less than six months. What portion are likely to be men? Since women stay 50% longer than men, we can surmise that a large percentage of these "short stay" residents are men.

Statistical data was reported in the July/August 1990 issue of Contingencies Magazine, published by the American Academy of Actuaries, in an article titled "Who Should Buy Long Term Care Insurance."The studies show clearly that although there is a significant risk of financial disaster for men, the predominant people at risk of losing assets are single, elderly women.

With couples, there exists a serious risk of impoverishing a non-institutionalized spouse. Indeed, there remains the distinct possibility of "forced spend-down" or erosion of assets to pay for nursing home care. This causes a depletion of the assets that might otherwise be available to pass on the family or gift to charity.


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