stethoscope on money on insurance claim form
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Long-term care insurance is needed now more than ever, but the concept needs rebranding, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

More than 200,000 residents and workers in long-term care settings have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. That’s 23% of all COVID-related deaths, according to data shared earlier this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The numbers come from state and federal data sources and primarily include nursing homes but also assisted living communities and group homes.

The statistics highlight the need for long-term care insurance, but the term is off-putting to a lot of people, said Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

“People never wanted to go to nursing homes, and COVID is only making people more aware that this is not a desirable option,” Slome said

The category needs to be rebranded, the expert said. Policies typically focus on skilled care, with home care listed as a secondary benefit that is included. That’s a turn-off, Slome said, as most older adults want to age in place in their own homes for as long as possible. Instead, he advocates rebranding as “nursing home avoidance protection.”

“If long-term care insurance is to ever become a viable option for more than a very small percentage of individuals, things need to change,” Slome said. “Part of that change, I believe, needs to be a re-branding of the category, and COVID certainly provides a great opportunity to do that.”