Compared with 2018, fewer Americans now think individuals and families should be responsible for paying for their aging loved ones’ care. Instead, more believe that health insurance companies and Medicare should take responsibility for the costs. That’s according to a new study from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The study, which included interviews with almost 1,900 adults conducted between Aug. 27 and Sept. 14, found that 59% of respondents (compared with 50% in 2018) now think health insurance companies should have a large responsibility in paying for the costs of ongoing living assistance. Approximately 56% (compared with 45% in 2018) say they think Medicare should be responsible for long-term care costs.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has not led to a greater awareness among respondents of the need to plan for long-term care, according to study findings. Compared with 2018, more people say that they have done little or no planning for their own care needs (46% versus 37%) and believe it is unlikely that a loved one will need care (43% versus 34%). That’s in spite of the fact that caregivers aged 18 to 39 are providing more care each week than they reported in 2018.
“Americans of all ages are providing even more care to older loved ones, yet in the face of extremely troubling times, they still are not thinking about their future aging and long-term care needs in an action-oriented, productive way,” said Bruce Chernof, M.D., president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, an independent organization dedicated to helping people age with dignity, choice and independence, which funded the study. “It’s staggering, and these findings are a clarion call for both presidential campaigns to bring the needs of older adults and family caregivers to the forefront.”