Sobering data on usage, cost, insurance products, and the toll on unpaid caregivers.
By Christine Benz | 08-31-17 | 05:00 AM | Email Article

In my years of speaking to groups of retirees and pre-retirees, I've learned that there are a handful of topics that will send an event completely out of my control.

Christine Benz is Morningstar's director of personal finance and author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and the Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success. Follow Christine on Twitter: @christine_benz.

One is the long-term viability of Social Security; I don't go there, but it sometimes comes up as a question. The other hot-button topic--and one that I do touch on in my talks because it has the potential to make or break a retirement plan--is long-term care.

People have lots of questions about long-term care: Is the insurance worth it, given how insurers have been jacking up premiums? If you're going to raid your own coffers to pay for long-term when and if you need it, how much money do you need to have saved? And people have plenty of experiences to share, too--horror stories of insurers haggling over claims and foisting premium increases on seniors living on fixed incomes, as well as more positive tales of parents' long-term care policies that paid for themselves many times over.

The most frustrating part of long-term care decision-making is that the long-term landscape is changing so quickly. Given their difficult claims experiences, many insurers are throwing in the towel on this market altogether. Soaring premiums have also contributed to the confusion about whether the products are worth it--even if you can find one that's affordable at the outset.

Unfortunately, the "right" answer to the vexing long-term care question is pretty individual-specific, and depends on the individual's level of wealth, age, desire to leave a bequest, and need for peace of mind, among other factors.

To help ensure that your decision-making is based on the numbers as much as it possibly can be, I've compiled 75 statistics related to long-term care. I've also linked through to the source material if you'd like to investigate further. (The wealth of information on long-term care--as well as the often-heroic caregivers who provide it--are bright spots in an often dismal story.)

Usage of Long-Term Care
6.3 million: The number of Americans who have a high long-term care need because they need help with two or more activities of daily living or are experiencing cognitive decline. 

15 million: The number of Americans expected to have a high long-term care need by 2050.

52.3%: The expected percentage of people turning 65 who will have a long-term care need during their lifetimes. 

47.7%: The expected percentage of people turning 65 who will have no long-term care need during their lifetimes.

46.7%: The expected percentage of men turning 65 who will have a long-term care need during their lifetimes. 

57.5%: The expected percentage of women turning 65 who will have a long-term care need during their lifetimes. 

22%: Percentage of individuals over 65 in the highest income quintile who will have a long-term care need of two years or longer. 

31%: Percentage of individuals over 65 in the lowest income quintile who will have a long-term care need of two years or longer. 

10%: Percentage of Americans over age 65 who have Alzheimer's dementia. 

38%: Percentage of Americans over age 85 who have Alzheimer's dementia. 

35%: Projected increase in number of people with Alzheimer's dementia between 2017 and 2030. 

110%: Projected increase in number of new Alzheimer's cases between 2010 and 2050, barring the development of a new treatment to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. 

2 years: Average number of years that individuals age 65 and older will have a high long-term care need during their lifetimes.

0.88 years: Average duration of nursing-home stay for men. 

1.44 years: Average duration of nursing-home stay for women. 

22%: Probability of needing more than one year in a nursing home, men.

36%: Probability of needing more than one year in a nursing home, women.

2%: Probability of needing more than five years in a nursing home, men.

7%: Probability of needing more than five years in a nursing home, women.

Paying for Care
$30 billion: Long-term care expenditures in U.S., 1980. 

$225 billion: Long-term care expenditures in U.S., 2015.

57.5%: Percentage of individuals turning 65 between 2015 and 2019 who will spend less than $25,000 on long-term care during their lifetimes.

15.2%: Percentage of individuals turning 65 between 2015 and 2019 who will spend more than $250,000 on long-term care during their lifetimes.

$217,820: Estimated end-of-life care costs in patient's final five years for individuals without dementia. 

$341,651: Estimated end-of-life care costs in patient's final five years for individuals with dementia. 

$17,680: Median annual cost for adult day care (five days/week), 2016.

$43,539: Median annual cost for assisted-living facility, 2016.

$82,125: Median annual nursing-home cost, semiprivate room, 2016.

$92,378: Median annual nursing-home cost, private room, 2016.

$164,250: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Manhattan, 2016.

$63,875: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Monroe, Louisiana, 2016.

$22,887: Median annual income from all sources for individuals who are 65 or older.

$38,515: Median annual income for households headed by people 65 or older.

3.5%: Five-year annual inflation rate in nursing-home costs, private room, 2016.

21.9%: Percentage of long-term care costs that are paid out of pocket, 2013.

13.2%: Percentage of people who receive professional home healthcare who have long-term care insurance coverage, 2010.

$5,518: Median total household wealth for people who have lived in a nursing home for six months or more.

$0: Median household wealth for people who have lived in a nursing home for six years or more.

Caregiving
37 billion hours: The annual amount of long-term care provided by unpaid caregivers, 2013.

$470 billion: The dollar value of long-term care provided by unpaid caregivers, 2013. 

$3 trillion: Estimated lost lifetime wages due to unpaid caregiving responsibilities.

83%: Percentage of help provided to older adults that is delivered by friends or family members. 

46%: Percentage of all caregivers who provide help to someone with Alzheimer's or dementia.

$230.1 billion: Value of assistance provided by unpaid caregivers to people with Alzheimer's or dementia, 2016.

65%: The percentage of older adults with long-term care needs who rely exclusively on friends and family members to provide that assistance.

More than 75%: Percentage of caregivers who are women. 

63: Average age of caregivers for people who are 65 and older. 

70%: The percentage of caregivers who suffered work-related difficulties due to their caregiving duties.

$15,000: The average amount of income that caregivers will lose due to time demands of providing care to those with Alzheimer's or other dementias.

State and Federal Funding
62.3%: Percentage of long-term care services and supports that are provided through Medicaid.

20%: Percentage of Medicaid funding that went to pay long-term care costs in 2016. 

$120,900: Maximum amount of assets that a healthy spouse can retain for the other spouse to be eligible for long-term care benefits provided by Medicaid, 2017. (Actual amounts vary by state.) 

100: Days of care in a skilled nursing facility ("rehab") covered in full or in part by Medicare following a qualifying hospital stay.

Long-Term Care Insurance
125: Number of insurers offering standalone long-term care policies, 2000. 

Less than 15: Number of insurers offering standalone long-term care policies, 2014. 

380,000: Number of individual long-term care insurance policies sold, 1990.

129,000: Number of individual long-term care insurance policies sold, 2014. 

72,736: Number of hybrid life/long-term care policies sold to individuals, 2009.

305,068: Number of hybrid life/long-term care policies sold to individuals, 2013.

4.50 million: Number of individuals with long-term care insurance coverage, 2000. 

7.25 million: Number of individuals with long-term care insurance coverage, 2014. 

$1.98 trillion: Maximum potential benefit of all long-term care policies in force today.

$1.87 billion: Annual claims on long-term care insurance policies, 2000.

$8.73 billion: Annual claims on long-term care insurance policies, 2014.

99%: Percentage of new long-term care policies that cover nursing home and in-home care, 2014.

37%: Percentage of new long-term care policies that cover nursing home and in-home care, 2000.

$2,772: Average annual premium, long-term care policies being sold, 2014.

$1,677: Average annual premium, long-term care policies being sold, 2000.

0.5%: Percentage of all businesses offering long-term care insurance to their employees.

20%: Percentage of businesses with 10 or more employees offering long-term care insurance to their employees. 

$52,000: Amount that a person buying the average long-term care policy at age 60 would have paid in premiums by age 82.

$547,000: Amount of total benefits available at age 82 for a person who purchased a typical policy at age 60.

19.6%: Increase in short-term care insurance sales in 2015 relative to 2014. (Short-term care insurance policies cover periods of one year or less.)

17%: Percentage of applicants ages 50-59 denied long-term care coverage due to health issues. 

45%: Percentage of applicants ages 70-79 denied long-term care insurance due to health issues. 

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