Lawmakers, regulators seek long-term care insurance solutions

Sales of new policies peaked in the early 2000s and have declined quickly in the roughly two decades since, as insurers have sought to exit the market due to the poor performance of the product line, according to a 2020 Department of the Treasury report.

The total number of covered Americans, around 7.5 million, has been mostly stagnant since 2008. By one recent estimate, fewer than one in 30 Americans, and just 7 percent of those over 50, has a long-term care policy.

Those numbers suggest to some lawmakers, like Senate Banking ranking member Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., that Americans either don’t understand the importance of long-term care insurance, or are merely choosing not to invest.

“Long term care insurance frequently provides one of the best solutions to paying for this care, but many Americans don’t invest in LTCI or wait until later in life to invest when the cost of this insurance is higher,” Toomey, whose family had to confront long-term care options when a relative was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, said via email.

Meanwhile, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, by 2034, people 65 and older are projected to outnumber children under 18 for the first time in U.S. history.

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