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

08/01/2004

The literature reviewed here suggests that there are some key differences between buyers and non-buyers in terms of their demographic and attitudinal characteristics and that attitudes emerge as much more important factors associated with buying behavior than do demographic characteristics. With respect to demographic characteristics, buyers in general, have higher income and assets. In terms of their attitudes, however, buyers are more likely to see the risk of needing LTC, to have had prior experience with LTC, to be less willing to rely on their children for help with LTC, to put higher emphasis on planning and to be more likely to think that they themselves, rather than the government should pay for care. In addition, when making the purchase decision, buyers are more likely to comparison shop and to talk with family, friends or colleagues. Buyers are also more likely than non-buyers to have a financial planner and to actively seek information about LTC.

An important finding from the studies reviewed is that people decide to buy and not to buy insurance for various reasons. The reasons to buy insurance range from wanting to protect assets to ensuring the affordability of services and the choice of service modality, to avoiding burdening the family. The reasons for not buying insurance range from high costs to confusion about which is the right policy, to believing that Medicare will pay and not believing that the insurer will pay as promised. Even though some of these reasons have changed over time to reflect the increased awareness and understanding among non-buyers of LTC insurance, there is still work to be done on educating the consumer and enhancing his or her confidence in the insurer and the product.

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