What We Know About Buyers and Non-Buyers of Private Long-Term Care Insurance: A Review of Studies. III. METHOD


In reviewing the literature, we classify studies into one of two categories: (1) empirical and (2) descriptive studies. Empirical studies focus on isolating the independent impact or effect of a particular characteristic (demographic, health, attitudinal, financial, etc.) on the probability of buying LTC insurance while holding all other characteristics constant. Descriptive studies, on the other hand, examine how buyers and non-buyers differ with regard to a particular characteristic but these studies do not control for other characteristics that may explain the purchase/non-purchase decision. For example, while it may be the case that being married is associated with being a buyer, it may also be the case that most married buyers tend to be young. Therefore, in understanding the purchase decision, it is difficult to know whether age or marital status is the primary trait related to the purchase decision -- something that one could not "tease out" in a descriptive study. Only when controlling for age can we identify the independent impact of marital status on the purchase decision and vice versa. This is what the empirical literature examines. Both types of research are important and taken together provide a comprehensive view of what is known about buyers and non-buyers.

In the sections that follow, we describe existing studies and focus on the findings that are consistent across studies. We examine the factors that are important to the decision of buyers to buy LTC insurance and those that are important to the decision of non-buyers not to buy. We also summarize the features that may make non-buyers more likely to become purchasers. The Appendix provides a summary table of the major findings of the studies reviewed herein.

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