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Investing Specialists

50 Must-Know Statistics About Long-Term Care

The skinny on usage, cost, insurance, caregivers, and more.

Figuring out your financial plan for long-term care is a little like trying to keep your footing on a trampoline that someone else is jumping on. Try as you might to stand up, the ground keeps shifting beneath you.

There's little dispute that the need for long-term care is on the rise with an aging population: The percentage of 65-year-olds who either spent at least one night in a nursing home or needed in-home health care over the previous two years jumped by 40% and 50%, respectively, between 2000 and 2010. And the costs can be staggering--in expensive geographies, the annual outlay for care in a long-term-care facility can exceed six figures.

But while the likelihood that an older adult will need some type of long-term care is increasing, recent data show that the average length of stay is shorter than previous research had indicated--less than a year for men and roughly 1.4 years for women.

At the same time, long-term-care insurance premiums continue to rise at a much higher rate than inflation: A new policy for a 55-year-old in 2015 was 9% more costly than one purchased in 2014, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Existing policyholders have also had to contend with staggering premium hikes (or accept cutbacks in coverage). Many insurers have gotten out of the long-term-care business altogether, as declining interest rates, ultralow lapse rates, and higher-than-expected claims have curbed the profitability of long-term-care policies.

Ultimately, the decision about whether to purchase long-term-care insurance is a highly personal one, dependent on an individual's or couple's asset level and desire to leave a bequest, health history, and the peace of mind derived from having the coverage, among other factors.

To help aid in your decision-making, I've culled a number of statistics on long-term care: usage, costs, caregivers, insurance, and the role of government programs in paying for long-term care. Each statistic includes a link to its source material, and all of the facts and figures are based on U.S. data. I aimed to use the most current information possible, taken from objective sources. (A healthy dose of skepticism is helpful when researching long-term care; the insurance industry produces a lot of data geared toward spooking everyone into buying a policy.)

Usage
8 million: Number of U.S. citizens experiencing difficulty with self-care/activities of daily living, 2011.

13 million: Number of adults who experience difficulty living independently, 2011. 

44%: Percentage of men who will need long-term care during their lifetimes.

58%: Percentage of women who will need long-term care during their lifetimes. 

8.5%: Percentage of individuals 65 years and older who said they spent at least one night in a nursing home in the past two years, 2010. 

40%: Increase from 2000 to 2010 in the percentage of people 65 and older who said they spent at least one night in a nursing home in the past two years.

13.9%: Percentage of individuals 65 and over who said they used some kind of professional home health-care service in the previous two years, 2010. 

50%: Increase from 2000 to 2010 in the percentage of people 65 and older who said they used some kind of professional home health-care service in the previous two years.

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.  

14%: Percentage of population age 71 or older who have dementia. 

40%: Expected increase between 2015 and 2025 in number of people age 65 and older who have dementia. 

64%: Percentage of nursing-home residents who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or some form of dementia.

Cost of Care
$17,904: Average annual cost for adult day care (five days/week), 2015.

$43,200: Average annual cost for assisted living facility, 2015.

$80,300: Average annual nursing-home cost, semi-private room, 2015.

$91,250: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, 2015.

$182,500: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Manhattan, 2015.

$55,115: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Monroe, Louisiana, 2015.

4%: Five-year annual inflation rate in nursing-home costs, private or semiprivate room, 2015.

22%: Percentage of long-term-care costs that are paid out of pocket. 

13.2%: Percentage of people who receive professional home health care 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 housing and transportation wealth for people who have lived in a nursing home for six months or more.



Caregivers
43.5 million: Number of adult family caregivers who provide care for someone older than 50 years of age.

14.9 million: Number of adult caregivers who provide care for someone who has Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

$450 billion: Estimated value of care delivered by unpaid caregivers, 2009.

66%: Percentage of caregivers who are female.

48: Average caregiver age.

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


State and Federal Funding

51%: Percentage of long-term-care services that are paid by Medicaid. 

28%: Percentage of Medicaid funding that went to pay long-term-care costs in 2013.

29.5%: Percentage of nursing-home entrants who were covered by Medicaid upon entry, 2010.

47.2%: Percentage of people who spent more than six months in a nursing home who were covered by Medicaid, 2010.

$119,220: 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, 2015. (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.

Insurance
8%: Percentage of all long-term care delivered in the U.S. that is covered by long-term insurance.

13%: Percentage of single individuals over 65 with long-term-care insurance. 

$7.8 billion: Amount of long-term-care claims paid out in 2014. 

71%: Increase in short-term-care insurance sales in the first six months of 2015 relative to the first six months of 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. 

$2,170: Annual premium for a long-term-care policy for a married couple, both age 60, providing a total of $328,000 of long-term-care insurance coverage. 

$3,930: Annual premium that the same 60-year-old couple would pay for a policy that includes an inflation-growth option and builds their benefit pool to a combined $730,000 at age 85. 

8.6%: Percentage increase in cost of new long-term-care insurance policies between 2014 and 2015.  

33.4%: Percentage rate increase requested by John Hancock Life Insurance in 2015 for long-term policies sold in Connecticut between 1991 and 2010. (Rate increases requested--and, in some cases, approved by regulators--in other states and from other insurers have ranged from 15% to 60%.)