Overview of Current Long-Term Care Financing Options

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The long-term care financing series summarizes current issues in financing long-term care and outlines policy options for increasing affordable access to services.

Date Updated: 03/20/2013

At some point in their lives, most people will need some form of ongoing assistance, often called long term care (LTC) or long-term services and supports (LTSS). This includes assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing or dressing or supervision required by a cognitive condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. LTC is provided to older people and younger adults with disabilities that typically emerge “because of a physical, cognitive, or chronic health condition that is expected to continue for an extended period  of time.”1

Specifically, 70% of those reaching age 65 will need LTC before they die, and they will receive care for an average of 3.5 years.2 Also, LTC is expensive: a year in a nursing home costs over $82,000 on average, and for a private room in an assisted living facility the amount is just under $40,000. Home health care at 20 hours a week costs nearly $22,000 a year.3


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