stethoscope and calculator showing healthcare costs

Young adults’ interest in buying long-term care insurance could bode well for senior living, providing the financial flexibility to afford moving to a senior living community later in life, according to the recently released results of a survey.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. partnered with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates to survey 1,250 adults aged 30 to 60 in November to measure consumer awareness and understanding of chronic care and long-term care probability and funding solutions. The survey results, released last week, found that younger respondents were more interested in long-term care insurance and chronic care coverage than older ones. 

Among the findings:

  • Four out of five respondents (79%) said they are concerned about having a chronic or long-term condition or illness as they age, but their uncertainty about its duration and their fear of running out of money (39%) show they are unprepared.
  • The top concerns about the need for chronic care in retirement are being able to cover the cost of care for several months or years (28%), losing independence (25%), being able to remain active (18%) and becoming isolated at home or in a nursing home (14%).
  • Respondents were uncertain about the costs of in-home care, but they strongly prefer it over other types of care.

Need for chronic care

Even though it’s not their top issue, the vast majority (eight in 10) of respondents said they are concerned about having a chronic condition as they age and fear the expense of needing chronic care. On average, survey participants predicted they have a 38% chance of needing chronic care, with those in their 30s (49%) being more likely than older age groups to say they will need chronic care.

Concern for the need for chronic care was highest among younger respondents and those in higher income groups, with younger respondents fearing not being able to stay active. Younger survey participants also were more likely than older ones to have experience with family members needing chronic care.

Paying for chronic care

Almost half of respondents said they are unsure how long they will need chronic care or how much it will cost. Although a quarter of respondents said they are unsure how they will pay for chronic care, the top methods are retirement savings or Medicare. Most (56%), however, are unsure about how long Medicare will pay for nursing home care or chronic illness.

According to the survey results, consumers do not understand solutions to managing chronic care, although interest in these solutions is high, especially among younger individuals. Respondents showed strong interest (73%) in wanting to buy long-term or chronic care coverage through their employers and prefer to have it as a monthly benefit (50%). That interest is highest among 30- to 40-year olds (86%) compared with 41- to 50-year-olds (76%) and 51- to 60-year olds (65%).

In-home care

When it comes to in-home care, six in 10 respondents either underestimated or were unsure of the costs, but eight in 10 (82%) said they are interested in learning more about opportunities to age-in-place. About one-third of survey participants reported that they would not be able to stay in their homes if they needed to pay $300 or more per week for six months.

Almost all respondents (91%) prioritized remaining in their home despite needing to pay for healthcare and showed a strong interest in learning more about payment opportunities, regardless of age or income.