Americans continue to believe government will pay for ADL assistance, long-term care

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Newly released research adds to the growing evidence that Americans are unprepared to pay for assistance with activities of daily living and other care in retirement and also are unaware that government programs such as Medicare and Social Security typically do not cover long-term care.

Results of an LTC trends poll funded by The SCAN Foundation and conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also show that about half of Americans support government-administered LTC insurance programs, whereas other policies to help Americans prepare for care costs — such as tax breaks for caregivers, Social Security earnings credit for caregivers and state programs to provide paid family leave — have even higher levels of support (83%, 73% and 72%, respectively).

The study, released Thursday, included 1,698 telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 40 or more years. Some of the other findings:

  • 77% of respondents said they would prefer to receive care in their own home, 11% said they would prefer to reside in a senior living community, 4% said they would like to live in the home of a friend or family member, and 4% said they would like to live in a nursing home.
  • Less than 10% of respondents say they have moved or have made plans to either move to a senior living community or move in with a family member or friend.
  • 36% of participants said they would prefer for loved ones to receive care in their own home, 31% said they would prefer that the care be provided in the loved one's home, 13% said they would prefer that their loved one receive needed care in a senior living community, 5% said they would prefer they receive care in a nursing home, and 2% said they would prefer that their family member or friend receive care in another person's home.
  • 38% of respondents said they anticipate receiving support for their LTC needs from Medicare, and 35% expect Social Security to help.
  • One-third of participants said they have done no planning at all for their own LTC needs.
  • 50% of respondents said they will not rely on LTC insurance at all to support the care they need as they grow older, and 30% said they plan to rely on it at least a moderate amount. Respondents aged 65 years or more were more likely to say that it will not be a part of supporting their ongoing living assistance needs than those who were aged 40 to 65 years.

Release of the AP-NORC study results follow three reports issued earlier this year — by LeadingAge, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative — that made recommendations on the financing of long-term services and supports. The SCAN Foundation, which funded the AP-NORC study, also funded — with LeadingAge and AARP — modeling done by the Urban Institute and actuary Milliman that was used in all three of the reports.

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