Gender Gap. Women Receive Majority of Long-Term Care Insurance Benefits

More people own Long-Term Care Insurance. Last year over $11.6 Billion in benefits was paid to American families providing quality care, reducing family stress, and protecting savings. Women make up 67% of LTC policy claims, according to research.

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Gender Gap. Women Receive Majority of Long-Term Care Insurance Benefits
7 Min Read March 10th, 2019 Updated:November 9th, 2021
James Kelly

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

If you do an internet search on long-term care it will return a substantial amount of information. Longevity is a significant retirement planning concern. As you prepare for retirement, not planning for the financial costs and burdens associated with aging will negatively affect your future income and lifestyle.

The result is that many more Americans own Long-Term Care Insurance to protect their future retirements and reduce the stress placed on the extended family. In 2020, the major insurance companies paid over $11.6 Billion in benefits from these policies to American families.

According to the National Institute on Aging, several factors influence your risk of needing long-term health care services. These factors include aging, being female, marital status, unhealthy lifestyles, poor diet, lack of exercise, and family history. Women are also more likely to live alone when they get older, which adds to the risk.

Women Receiving Benefits from Long-Term Care Insurance

It should be no surprise that women are the biggest beneficiary of these policies. According to a Long-Term Care Insurance claims study, nearly two-thirds of benefits went to women. The study was conducted by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), national consumer education and advocacy group.

Planning for long-term care has always been especially important for women. Generally, women are the first caregivers. They have juggled providing care to their young children and later their parents, sometimes grandparents and other family members, and they become the first caregiver for their husbands as men usually require care before a woman does.

Women also get impacted needing care services, but they don't have the built-in support that a man might have. Women's longevity means that by the time, statistically, that a woman requires long-term care, the husband is either unable to provide care or has already passed away.

Single women, or those without children, lack build-in support to help them as they face changes in their health, bodies, and mind. Even with family support, the challenges to family members are numerous. 

Family caregivers face physical and emotional stress. Without family support, there is no family advocate on your behalf. 

Without a Long-Term Care Plan the Impact on Women is Greater

"Women account for 64 percent of Long-Term Care Insurance claims, men for 36 percent."

Jesse Slome, director of AALTCI

The claims data shared with the AALTCI by seven of the largest companies in Long-Term Care Insurance.

"Women are likely to need long-term care for a variety of reasons that generally result from living longer lives as well as conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease."

Jesse Slome 

The issue of long-term care has long been considered a women’s issue. Multiple generations of women are impacted because of long-term health care. Generally, women become the first caregivers. Without Long-Term Care Insurance, family members become caregivers even before paid care is sought. As men usually decline first, the wife is often the first caregiver. By the time a woman requires care, the husband has often either pass-away or not in a position to be a caregiver.

Suzi Orman, a nationally known financial expert, has long recommended American families purchase Long-Term Care Insurance. She points out this importance on her website www.suzeorman.com.

“Given our increasingly long-life spans and the fast-rising cost of health care, an LTCi policy can be the linchpin of a secure retirement.”

Suzi Orman, a nationally known financial expert

She says because of the risk, women should be sure to plan ahead and consider Long-Term Care Insurance.

“And it is doubly important for women to consider. According to the Society of Actuaries, a woman alive at age 65 has a one-in-three chance of still being alive at age 90. And if that 65-year-old woman happens to be in very good health the odds of being alive at 90 rises to more than 40%. In other words, there’s a good chance you could live a very long life.”

Suzi Orman

Women Face More Cognitive ImpairmentDue to Longevity

Nearly half of people who reach the age of 65 will need long-term health care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These costs will come from your savings and income as most of the costs are not covered by health insurance, including Medicareand MedicareSupplements. Only a small amount of skilled care is covered. Unless you plan in advance, the costs will impact you, your family, savings, and lifestyle.

Many people are planning. The realization that the impact of long-term care on their savings and family members can be devastating drives more people to consider options like Long-Term Care Insurance.

A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs says most Americans understand this risk.

Several Reasons People Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance 

As more Americans purchase Long-Term Care Insurance, more people are using the benefits from these policies. There are many reasons people give as to why they purchase Long-Term Care Insurance, and these are the most common according to surveys:

•   Burden – People don't want to burden their spouses and adult children when they get older. Being a caregiver is stressful and impacts the caregiver's health, career, and family.

•   Asset Protection – Usually, the primary concern is protecting the lifestyle of the other spouse. Often, the wife. Generally, a man will experience a long-term care event before the woman, and the wife may have many more years of lifespan afterward. The protection of savings to maintain the spouse's lifestyle is essential. Legacy is also important for some people. The ability to leave something to children and grandchildren can also be a consideration. Forty-five states offer Long-Term Care Partnership policies that provide additional asset protection.

•   Choice of Quality Care – Long-Term Care Insurance provides the tax-free resources to pay for care in the setting you desire, either at home, adult day care facilities, assisted living facilities, memory care, and nursing homes. This means you can select the location and quality of the care.

•   Independence and Control – Adult children often make decisions on behalf of Mom or Dad. With Long-Term Care Insurance, you will remain in control without putting the responsibility on others. Managing a plan of care can be almost as stressful as being a caregiver. Most Long-Term Care Insurance policies provide case management which allows the family time just to be family. 

While long-term care is an issue that impacts women, men play an essential role. Men are taking better care of themselves, and as they do, their risk for needing long-term care increases because of longevity. Both men and women share one thing in common; they generally are concerned about their family's welfare.

Many companies offer shared spousal benefits. Several other options are available which can match your concerns. Asset-based "hybrid" policies exist which provide death benefits if you are lucky enough never to require care. Some companies offer limited-pay or single-pay policies where you only pay the premium one time or in ten years. Business owners can take advantage of tax benefits, and once a person retires, the premium has been paid in full for life. 

Start Research Before Retirement

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can assist you in finding appropriate coverage. The best time to plan is before retirement, when you enjoy better health and premiums are much lower. Find a qualified specialist by clicking here.

You can start online research by finding the current cost of care in your state and the availability of partnership plans and tax incentives. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator not only shows you the current and future cost of extended health care where you live but provides important state-specific information. 

Long-Term Care Insurance is an affordable way to address the problems with getting older and the burdens otherwise placed on those you love. The polices work by giving you the resources to protect savings and ease the burdens on those you love.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

There are several obstacles you face when planning for a successful future retirement. You don't want to lose your independence. Avoiding dependency is critical for most people. 

The fact is long-term health care is a significant cash flow issue. LTC Insurance addresses this problem. But, long-term care is also a family issue. Without any plan in place, the family will go into crisis mode. The result can be a disaster for you and your family, and your wishes may take a back seat.

An LTC policy keeps you in control and helps avoid becoming dependent on your children decades from now. You will have access to guaranteed tax-free benefits that will pay for your choice of quality care, either in-home or in a facility. 

You can safeguard your 401K, IRA, and other assets and maintain your lifestyle once you retire. However, Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, so you must have reasonably good health to obtain coverage. Plus, premiums are calculated on your age, health, family history, and other factors.

Most people want to avoid the lifestyle changes that happen when you have large health-related costs. Most of these costs are long-term care services. 

Plus, most people want to avoid placing the future responsibility of caregiving or managing future paid care services on their adult children. The role of the family caregiver is physically and emotionally demanding. 

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will give help you avoid dependence on your family in addition to protecting your income and assets. You will have access to your choice of quality care, including in-home care, which most people prefer. 

Research Tools on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS can put together several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

 Seek Professional Advice

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family. Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have the peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities

If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.

Take a moment and read - 

Get Expert Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you, or a loved one complete the claim's process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. You can also support finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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