Helping Older Americans Stay In Their Own Homes

Oct 23, 2020

Americans prefer to stay in their homes as they age. Research on the topic is clear.  

That’s not about to change as concerns mount over nursing homes with the spread of COVID-19. About 40 percent of coronavirus deaths are linked to nursing homes.

This is a challenge for millions of Americans. By 2030, those 65 years of age and older will represent 21% of the U.S. population, and 70% of individuals living past age 65 will need some long-term care. It’s no wonder that long-term care ranks as the second greatest financial concern for Americans, behind retirement savings.

Long-term care insurance offers a solution and modernized long-term care products are better meeting the needs of consumers. This type of insurance can help ensure people age in place by providing benefits covering at home caregiving. It also provides benefits for assisted living or skilled nursing home care.

Finding the money to pay for this type of insurance has proven to be challenging for many people. To help consumers, life insurers have developed innovative “hybrid” policies that combine life insurance or annuity contracts and can be more affordable, especially when bought at an early age. They allow policyholders to purchase coverage while also protecting the balance of their retirement savings. 

Lawmakers including Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., are also looking at ways to help more people get long-term care insurance.

ACLI and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) lauded Toomey for his leadership on long-term care issues in a statement for the Senate Finance subcommittee on health care hearing last year. This week Sen. Toomey proposed a change to the tax code that will allow people to use money they’ve invested in 401(k)s and IRAs for long-term care insurance or expenses.

Numerous steps are needed to expand consumer choice and access to quality long-term care coverage. We appreciate the efforts of Sen. Toomey and other lawmakers on this critical issue – one that is intensified by the COVID-19 crisis and Americans’ clear desire to age in place.

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.