What Percent of People Have Long-Term Care Insurance?

Long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of care services if you experience a chronic illness, disability or cognitive impairment later in life. However, long-term care insurance uptake remains relatively low in the U.S. Here’s an in-depth look at the statistics surrounding who has long-term care insurance coverage.

Key Long-Term Care Insurance Statistics

Let’s start with some key statistics that highlight the low overall rate of long-term care insurance coverage:

  • Only 7.5 million Americans, or about 3.3% of the population, currently has long-term care insurance.

  • Long-term care insurance makes up only 7-8% of total long-term care spending in the U.S.

  • A survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 16% of adults 40 and older have long-term care insurance.

  • Among survey respondents ages 40-54, only 7% had long-term care insurance.

  • For those ages 55-64, the share with coverage rose slightly to 10%.

  • Just 27% of adults 65 and older had long-term care insurance, according to the survey.

Who Is Buying Long-Term Care Insurance?

While uptake remains low overall, long-term care insurance appeals primarily to older, more affluent individuals who want to protect their retirement savings and avoid burdening family.

Here is a breakdown of the key demographics who currently have long-term care insurance, based on industry surveys:

  • Age – People ages 60-69 make up the largest share of policyholders at 43%, followed by those 70-79 at 29% and people 80+ at 15%. Only 7% of buyers are under 50.

  • Income – 75% of claimants have annual household incomes over $100,000. 95% have incomes over $50,000. High-income households can better afford premiums.

  • Assets – The median household assets of claimants is $837,000. 90% have assets of at least $500,000. More assets mean more to protect.

  • Education – Over 70% of claimants have a college degree or higher. Higher education often correlates with higher income.

  • Marital status – Over 60% of claimants are married. Many seek to avoid burdening a spouse.

So those most likely to have coverage are older, wealthier married couples concerned about using their hard-earned retirement savings on care costs.

Why Don’t More People Have Long-Term Care Insurance?

If long-term care insurance can provide valuable financial protection, why do so few Americans have it? There are a few key reasons driving the lack of uptake:

  • Cost – The average annual premium for a 55-year-old is $2,050. Many cannot afford premiums that can run thousands per year.

  • Denials – As you age, it gets harder to qualify due to health conditions. Over 30% of applicants ages 60-69 are denied.

  • Misconceptions – Many incorrectly believe Medicare or regular health insurance will cover long-term care costs.

  • Lack of planning – Most don’t think about potential future care needs until they are older when premiums are very expensive.

  • Stigma – Some view long-term care insurance as an admission they will become incapacitated.

In addition, rate increases, insurers exiting the market, and coverage limitations have made some consumers reluctant to purchase policies.

Long-Term Care Insurance Ownership by Age

Given that long-term care insurance appeals primarily to older Americans, coverage rates do tend to increase with age, according to insurance industry data. However, even among seniors, most still lack coverage.

Here is the breakdown of long-term care insurance ownership rates by age group:

  • Ages 18-49 – Approximately 700,000 individuals under 50 have long-term care insurance, equating to just over 1% of this age group.

  • Ages 50-59 – About 1.5 million individuals ages 50-59 have long-term care insurance coverage, or around 4% of this demographic.

  • Ages 60-69 – An estimated 3.5 million individuals in their 60s have long-term care insurance, equal to about 11% of this population.

  • Ages 70-79 – About 2.1 million individuals in their 70s have coverage, making up approximately 14% of people in this age bracket.

  • Ages 80+ – Around 500,000 individuals over 80 have long-term care insurance, accounting for just under 15% of the 80+ population.

So ownership is low even among seniors, though it picks up slightly. Still, nearly 70% of 60-79 year-olds and 85% of those 80+ lack coverage.

Who Actually Uses Long-Term Care Insurance Benefits?

Industry data shows that women utilize long-term care insurance more than men:

  • About 64% of long-term care insurance claims are for female policyholders, compared to 36% for males.

  • The average woman will require 3.7 years of long-term care services in her lifetime, while for men it’s 2.2 years.

  • Women generally live longer than men, so they are more likely to ultimately need assisted living, nursing home care, or home health services.

In terms of age, industry data on claims shows:

  • 29% of claims start prior to age 81.

  • 71% of claims start at age 81 or later.

So while purchasing coverage early is wise, most will not actually tap benefits until their 80s or later when more support is needed.

How Can Long-Term Care Insurance Uptake Increase?

For long-term care insurance to appeal to more consumers beyond the wealthy, experts say improvements need to occur:

  • Lower premiums through innovative products like hybrid life/LTC policies

  • More education about Medicare coverage gaps and future care costs

  • Expanded tax incentives like broader deductibility of premiums

  • Greater data transparency on pricing and claim trends

The combination of more affordable products, increased financial literacy regarding the need for coverage and policy improvements could potentially bolster low long-term care insurance ownership rates.

Conclusion: Long-Term Care Insurance Coverage Remains Low

The high cost of premiums, strict health underwriting, lack of consumer awareness, and product limitations have hampered greater long-term care insurance uptake. However, with proper planning and innovative policy options, long-term care insurance can still provide invaluable financial protection against potentially catastrophic future care costs for those who can secure it.

Long Term Care Insurance 101 – Cost, Benefits, Features


What percentage of people have LTC insurance?

Right now, fewer than 1 in 30 Americans own a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy, and only about 7 percent of adults over 50. The raw figure of 7.5 million insured has barely budged since 2008, despite an increasing aging population.

What are the odds of using long-term care insurance?

And, here is the answer. The lifetime chance someone who buys a policy at age 60 will use their policy before they die is 50%. So, 50% will use their policy and 50% won’t.

Do most Americans have long term health insurance?

While 18% of adults surveyed said they currently own long-term care insurance, including 27% of Millennials, industry data from LIMRA shows only 3.1% of Americans have purchased long-term care insurance, and most of those are older consumers.

What is the biggest drawback of long-term care insurance?

Long term care insurance is expensive and premiums can go up. That’s often a big, unpleasant surprise for many people.

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