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Rethinking the Need for Long-Term Care Insurance

A recent study suggests that more people than previously thought will require long-term care at some point but that their need will last for a shorter period of time.

Long-term care insurance continues to be the subject of intense debate among financial pros, not to mention Morningstar readers. A recent study by a team at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College sheds new light on the need for long-term care insurance--including findings that suggest that, while more people may need long-term care at some point in their lives than previously thought, the duration of that need may be shorter than earlier studies suggest. Anthony Webb, a senior research economist at the center, recently spoke with Morningstar about the study's findings.

Morningstar: There have been previous studies about the effectiveness of long-term care insurance, whether it makes sense for people to purchase it, but yours used a slightly different approach. Can you explain what you did that was different?