How Many People Need Long-Term Care?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, someone turning 65 today has nearly a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care. One-third of 65-year-olds may never need long-term care, but 20 percent will need it for more than 5 years.

Long-term care insurance was supposed to help the middle class ease the financial burden of expensive in-home or nursing home care that now can top $90,000 a year.

Consumers were urged to buy policies in their 50s because premiums rose the longer they waited. About 4.8 million people were covered by long-term care policies in 2014.

But insurers underestimated how long people would live and how long they’d need nursing home care and overestimated how many people would drop their policies and how much interest insurers could earn on the premiums they banked.

And rising costs could be prompting many seniors to drop their long-term care insurance policies.

You can read more about the challenges seniors face in Barbara Feder Ostrov’s “Long-term Care Insurance: Less Bang, More Buck.”