Long-Term Care Insurance Solutions Lack Traction

A new analysis from Lincoln Financial Group and Zeldis Research suggests few are aware of the wide range of solutions available to help address the potential financial impact of long-term care.

Lincoln Financial Group’s 2016 Long-Term Care Awareness Study, conducted by Zeldis Research, finds that the majority of people approaching retirement or in retirement have not taken any action to prepare for an “unanticipated long-term care event.”

The Lincoln study surveyed 500 people between the ages of 40 and 70, and found that of those with a financial advisor, only 45% have discussed the costs of long-term care with the adviser.

“Few were aware of the wide range of solutions available to help address the potential financial impact of long-term care,” warns Mike Hamilton, vice president, MoneyGuard product management, Lincoln Financial Group. “More than one in two people turning 65 are expected to need long-term care in their lifetime, yet our research finds that those in their prime planning years are either not planning at all, or overlooking many of the options available in the market today that can address both long-term care expenses and other financial priorities.”

Long-term care can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, he admits, but proper planning and understanding of the funding options available can make a big difference in maintaining control and confidence.

The Lincoln research shows that among those who have spoken with a financial adviser about long-term care, the most common resource discussed for addressing potential long-term care expenses is long-term care insurance (82%). Retirement savings are the second most common resource (61%), “which if used to cover expenses, can have a lasting negative impact on a surviving spouse or legacy plans.”

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“It’s estimated a consumer turning 65 today will incur on average $266,000 in long-term services and support costs, should they require future formal care, not accounting for inflation,” the study suggests. “Among the least discussed resources identified by the survey are hybrid products that combine long-term care benefits with a life insurance policy or an annuity. Hybrid products are rapidly gaining traction in the market and today outsell traditional long-term care insurance products.”

Lincoln found just 28% of those surveyed stated that they own a financial product that can help address potential long-term care expenses, and the top reasons for purchasing the product were to avoid depleting assets and for peace of mind, each cited by 92% of product owners respectively.

The Long-Term Care Awareness Study found that the primary barriers for purchasing a financial product to cover long-term care expenses are “competing financial priorities” and “concerns over paying for something that may never be used,”each reason cited by 57% of respondents. To ease these concerns, Lincoln points out that some types of long-term care coverage products are in fact “use it or lose it,” but many hybrid products are also available in the market today provide a benefit whether or not care is ever needed.

Of course, such a high-quality benefit will not come cheap, the research warns.

“A key component of long-term care planning is understanding the potential costs associated with the types of care one might need based on their state,” Lincoln concludes.

More information on the long-term care research and Lincoln Financial Group solutions is available here