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Long-term Care Insurance in the United States: Perspectives from Independent Insurance Agents

Long-term Care Insurance in the United States: Perspectives from Independent Insurance Agents

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Financing options currently available for long-term care are insufficient and poorly understood by consumers. Heavy reliance on public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid has led to considerable depletion of funds for both federal and state governments. With current long-term care costs reaching upwards of $74,000 per year, current mechanisms of payment are inadequate and will not survive the growing older adult population. Long-term care insurance was developed to curb reliance on public programs and mitigate private out-of-pocket payments. However, the marketing of this product is contributing to its demise. Personal interviews and historical data provide a qualitative descriptive study of how marketing practices of local independent insurance agents contribute to the impact of long-term care insurance as a finance model for long-term care. Modifications in marketing, including agent and consumer education and increased state regulation, will improve the ability of long-term care insurance to actively finance long-term care. This overview of the long-term care insurance industry will be useful for professionals and consumers alike.