Press release: Own Your Future
March 8 - April 7
Source: Minnesota Departnemt of Human Services
Survey results show continuing uncertainty about paying for long-term care costs in old age.
If you lost your ability to care for yourself because of disability or old age, how ready are you and your family to meet your needs?
Half of people responding to the Own Your Future annual survey at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair said they are not prepared to deal with the help most of them and their loved ones are expected to need some time after age 65.
Half of respondents also said their biggest concern about retirement is losing health and needing care, followed by not having enough money (40 percent) and being a burden to family (11 percent).
A quarter said they don’t know how they would pay for such care, while others said they would use personal savings or investments (28 percent), long-term care insurance (21 percent), government programs (10 percent) or other resources.
“In 13 years, the oldest baby boomers turn 85 and the youngest will be 65,” said Loren Colman, assistant commissioner for Continuing Care for Older Adults at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. “We estimate that more than half of these people will need help after age 65 with daily activities such as bathing and dressing as well as housekeeping and other everyday tasks. Yet many people have not planned for and are unprepared to pay for that help.”
The total lifetime cost for the average user of long-term care is $259,000, about half of which will be paid out of pocket, with the remainder paid for by Medical Assistance (34 percent), Medicare (10 percent), private insurance (3 percent) and other sources, according to national studies. Medicare pays for nursing home care in very limited instances. To be eligible for Medical Assistance in Minnesota, an individual must have limited assets and income.
The Own Your Future initiative was launched by Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration in 2012 to promote public awareness of the need to plan for long-term care in later years. More recently, Own Your Future has explored affordable long-term care financing options for middle-income Minnesotans. Two options being looked at in greater depth are a home care benefit that would be included in Medicare supplemental plans sold in Minnesota and a term life insurance product that would convert to long-term care insurance as a person ages.
The State Fair survey, completed by 2,553 people in 2016, is intended to provide a snapshot of Minnesotans’ current thinking on their retirement and long-term care planning. DHS and other agencies use the survey results to gauge how concerns and behavior regarding retirement and long-term care planning are changing over time and how trends could influence policy, public information and outreach efforts.
Asked if they would add a home care benefit to their Medicare supplemental insurance for $10 to $30 per month, about half of survey respondents said yes. Asked if they would buy a convertible term life insurance product to cover long-term care costs after retirement, 25 percent of respondents said yes. About a third of respondents said they would need more information about both products before deciding.
In Minnesota, an estimated 92 percent of long-term care is provided by family caregivers. Among State Fair survey respondents, 80 percent said they have provided care for a parent, an in-law or another older relative. Yet a total of 60 percent of respondents said they would not expect their children or other family members to play an active role in their long-term care or would not want their children or family members to be involved in their care.
“The survey results indicate a need for more Minnesotans to plan with their families how they will manage their needs as they age,” Colman said. “While we explore new financing products, we also have resources to help older adults and their families now.”
Senior LinkAge Line, 1-800-333-2433, can direct families to services that will help them remain in their homes and can help with prescription drug coverage and other issues. The Own Your Future website includes a guidebook and other resources to plan for long-term care and other needs as people age.
More information about the 2016 survey is available on the Own Your Future website at http://mn.gov/dhs/ownyourfuture/news/.