The Finance of Longevity

For LTCi, It's All About Facing The Issues

It’s easier to plan for Long-Term-Care if we confront our personal concerns first

ACSIA points to the finding of a federal survey: After participants grappled with their care concerns, they had no trouble answering questions about action options

KIRKLAND, Wash., July 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Last year the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services issued a report about Americans’ concerns and actions related to long-term care (LTC), also referred to as long-term services and supports (LTSS).

“The main takeaway was not the particulars of the responses, in our view,” says Denise Gott, CEO of ACSIA Partners. “It was the fact that participants considered and faced the issues.”

In the HHS survey, 15,298 non-institutionalized Americans aged 40-70, a statistically-significant sample of the age group, answered seven questions about long-term care personal concerns and ten questions about long-term care actions.

Excerpts from the HHS report

  • Home Equity as a Long-Term Care Financing Resource
    For most people, home equity is their primary asset and might be a source of funding for LTSS. Overall, fewer than half of homeowners (43.6 percent) reported that they were willing–“very”/“somewhat”–to use the value in their homes to finance LTSS, with little difference by age group (Table 3). About two-fifths of homeowners under 65 and 65 or older (44.2 percent and 40.7 percent, respectively) were willing to use the value in their home to pay for LTSS.Half of homeowners without children (50.3 percent), about one in five of those with no children living within a 10-mile radius or children living within a 10- mile radius (41.3 percent and 41.9 percent, respectively), were willing to use home equity to finance LTSS. Males (44.8 percent), those who were unmarried (47.7 percent), and non-Whites (46.1 percent) were more likely than females (42.5 percent), those who were married (42.1 percent), and those who were White (42.8 percent) to be willing to access the value in their homes to pay for LTSS. Willingness to use home equity for LTSS did not vary much by income, but did vary by assets.

    People with fewer assets were less willing to use home equity to pay for LTSS. Only 32.7 percent of people with no assets were willing to use their home equity for LTSS compared to 46.9 percent of people with more than $100,000 in assets. This likely reflects the fact that the no-asset group had fewer alternative sources of funds should they need them.

  • Willingness to Take Long-Term Care Actions
    Respondents were asked questions about how willing–“very,” “somewhat,” “not too,” or
    “not at all”–they would be to take several actions should they become disabled and
    need LTSS. For all analyses of these responses, we report the proportion of
    respondents who indicated feeling “very”/“somewhat” willing to do each of the things
    asked.
    Some actions required paying for services or having a third party pay for services (i.e.,
    making modifications to their home, attending adult day care, hiring an aide or agency
    for home care, moving into an assisted living facility, hiring a live-in caregiver, using thevalue of the home to pay for home modifications or LTSS, and moving into a nursing
    home). Other actions involved informal caregiving (i.e., relying on a family member or
    friend for care, having family or friend move in, and moving in with children, family
    member, or friend). The highest proportions of respondents were “very”/“somewhat”
    willing to make modifications to their homes (82.3 percent), rely on a spouse, family
    member, or friend for care (75.0 percent), and have a family member or friend move in
    (69.7 percent)

CONCERNS: What is your degree of concern about:

  • Being a burden on your family
  • Losing control and choice over LTC you might need
  • Being unable to afford high-quality care
  • Using up savings/income to pay for nursing home care/services
  • Becoming poor and having to rely on Medicaid
  • Being unable to depend on family/friends for care.

ACTIONS: What is your degree of willingness to:

  • Have a family/friend move in
  • Move in with children/family/friend
  • Rely on spouse/family/friend
  • Attend adult day care
  • Hire aide or agency for care
  • Hire live-in caregiver
  • Move into assisted living facility
  • Move into nursing home
  • Make modifications to home
  • Use value in home to pay for care.

Key Findings:

  • More than 75% of respondents said they had at least five of the seven personal concerns.
  • High on the list were losing independence and being unable to depend on family or friends for care.
  • Personal concerns varied little by wealth or age.
  • Of the ten actions, most respondents expressed willingness to modify their homes or have a family member or friend move in.
  • But fewer than 50% were willing to move in with family/friends or use the value in their home to pay for care.
  • The wealthier respondents were more willing to take actions that cost money, such as secure long-term care insurance or tap savings to pay for in-home care.

The report concludes, “These findings highlight the need for increased education on the … choices and financing options.”

Gott agrees, and believes the survey itself opened the eyes of the 15,298 participants, “by provoking introspection and analysis.”

All Americans would benefit from considering such questions... First the personal concerns, which are often hidden, then the action options

First, the personal concerns…

“All Americans would benefit from considering such questions,” Gott adds. “First the personal concerns, which are often hidden, then the action options.”

ACSIA Partners has hundreds of long-term care specialists in all parts of the country. “Part of their job is to ask the right questions and invoke the right thinking,” says Gott. “They’re glad to talk with consumers and business executives about any and all care-related concerns and actions, financial and otherwise.”

ACSIA Partners LLC — www.acsiapartners.com — is one of America’s largest and most experienced long-term care insurance agencies serving all states. The company is also a co-founder and sponsor of the “3in4 Need More” campaign, which encourages Americans to form a long-term care plan.

The HHS report is available at here. NOTE: The report uses the term “long-term services and supports” (LTSS) in place of “long-term care” (LTC).