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Investing Specialists

Must-Know Statistics About Long-Term Care: 2019 Edition

Our annual compendium of long-term care statistics on usage, cost, insurance, and caregivers.

Mentioned:

I’m obsessed with the topic of long-term care.

That’s mainly because the topic is personal for me: Both of my parents required long-term care later in their lives. They received high-quality care at home, in line with their wishes, and they had the funds to cover it. But it was still a terribly hard process for them, my siblings, and me.

And when it comes to the financial dimension of long-term care, truly good solutions are few and far between. Long-term care insurance premiums have shown signs of steadying, as insurers have gotten more realistic about pricing policies. But horror stories still pop up: In January, for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida long-term care insurance policyholders were notified that their annual premiums would increase by an average of 94% through 2021. (Thank goodness for small favors: The company had requested an increase of 280%!) The long-term care insurance marketplace is also changing quickly, with hybrid life/long-term care products gaining popularity at the expense of stand-alone long-term care insurance policies.

To help you arrive at a plan for how you’ll manage your own long-term care costs, I’ve assembled a now-annual compendium of statistics on long-term care. How likely are you to need long-term care and for how long? What does long-term care cost, and what does it cost to insure against it? Who’s providing care, and what toll is that taking on the caregivers?

Each statistic includes a link through to the original source of the information; I've aimed to use the most current figures I could find from objective sources, wherever possible.

Usage of Long-Term Care
47.8 million: Number of Americans over age 65, 2015.

87.9 million: Number of Americans who will be over age 65, 2050.

6.3 million: Number of Americans over age 85, 2015.

18.9 million: Number of Americans who will be over age 85, 2050.

52%: Percentage of people turning age 65 who will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetimes.

8%: Percentage of people ages 65-74 who need long-term care services, 2018.

17%: Percentage of people ages 75-84 who need long-term care services, 2018.

42%: Percentage of people older than age 85 who need long-term care services, 2018.

47%: Estimated percentage of men 65 and older who will need long-term care during their lifetimes.

58%: Estimated percentage of women 65 and older who will need long-term care during their lifetimes.

33%: Percentage of people turning 65 who will need nursing-home care at some point in their lifetimes.

70%: Percentage of people in nursing homes who are women.

80: Average age of admission for women in long-term care settings.

2.5 years: Average number of years women will need long-term care.

1.5 years: Average number of years men will need long-term care.

48%: Percentage of people receiving long-term care who need care for less than one year.

19%: Percentage of people receiving long-term care who need care for between one and 1.99 years.

21%: Percentage of people receiving long-term care who need care for between two and 4.99 years.

13%: Percentage of people who will need long-term care for longer than five years.

22%: Percentage of individuals over 65 in the highest income quintile who will have a long-term care need of two years or longer.

31%: Percentage of individuals over 65 in the lowest income quintile who will have a long-term care need of two years or longer.

The Role of Dementia
10%: Percentage of Americans over age 65 who have Alzheimer's dementia.

38%: Percentage of Americans over age 85 who have Alzheimer's dementia.

64%: Percentage of Americans with Alzheimer's dementia who are women.

145%: Percentage increase in the number of people who died from Alzheimer's dementia, 2000-17.

-9%: Percentage decrease in the number of people who died from heart disease, 2000-17.

8-10 years: Average life expectancy following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

2.8 years: Average length of time between when symptoms begin and when an Alzheimer's dementia diagnosis is made.

Cost of Care
$137 billion: Long-term care expenditures in the U.S., 2000.

$208 billion: Long-term care expenditures in the U.S., 2015.

63%: Estimated percentage of individuals age 65 today who will have no out-of-pocket long-term care costs during their lifetimes.

13%: Estimated percentage of individuals age 65 today who will incur out-of-pocket long-term care costs of between $0.01 and $50,000 during their lifetimes.

11%: Estimated percentage of individuals age 65 today who will incur out-of-pocket long-term care costs of between $50,000 and $150,000 during their lifetimes.

4%: Estimated percentage of individuals age 65 today who will incur out-of-pocket long-term care costs of between $150,000 and $250,000 during their lifetimes.

9%: Estimated percentage of individuals age 65 today who will incur out-of-pocket long-term care costs of more than $250,000 during their lifetimes.

$350,174: Estimated lifetime cost of care for someone with dementia.

$19,500: Median annual cost for adult day care (five days/week), 2019.

$48,612: Median annual cost for assisted-living facility, 2019.

$52,624: Median annual cost for a home health aide (44 hours/week; 52 weeks/year), 2019.

4.55%: Change in annual cost for a home health aide since 2018.

$102,200: Median annual nursing-home cost, private room, 2019.

1.82%: Change in annual nursing-home cost since 2018.

$161,148: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Manhattan, 2019.

$58,400: Average annual nursing-home cost, private room, Monroe, Louisiana, 2019.

$24.224: Median annual income from all sources for individuals who are 65 or older.

$41,125: Median annual income for households headed by people 65 or older.

19%: Percentage of long-term care costs that were paid out of pocket, 2013.

8%: Percentage of long-term care costs that were paid by private insurance, 2013.

Caregivers
34.2 million: The number of Americans who have provided unpaid care to an adult 50 or over in the past 12 months.

15.7 million: The number of caregivers for someone with Alzheimer's or other dementia.

$470 billion: The estimated dollar value of long-term care provided by unpaid caregivers, 2013.

69.4: Average age of care recipient.

49.2: Average age of caregiver.

62.3: Average age of spousal caregivers.

34%: Percentage of caregivers who are age 65 or older.

>75%: Percentage of caregivers who are female.

33%: Approximate percentage of caregivers to people with Alzheimer's or other dementias who are daughters.

25%: Approximate percentage of caregivers to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias who are “sandwich generation" caregivers, providing care to children as well as older adults.

33%: Percentage of people providing care to people age 65 or older who describe their own health as fair or poor.

63%: Percentage of dementia caregivers who say their responsibilities have led to working different hours, leaving work unexpectedly, and worrying about finances.

83%: Percentage of care provided to older adults that is delivered by friends or family members.

30%: Percentage of the population aged 65 or older who will rely on family-provided long-term care for two or more years.

34.7: Average number of hours per week worked by unpaid caregivers who have jobs in addition to caregiving.

70%: Percentage of caregivers who suffered work-related difficulties due to their caregiving duties.

44%: Percentage of caregivers who say that their work supervisor is unaware of their caregiving responsibilities.

10%: Estimated percentage of older adults who have suffered from some form of elder abuse.

7%: Estimated percentage of elder-abuse cases that are reported to authorities.

State and Federal Funding
51%: Percentage of long-term care services and supports that were provided through Medicaid, 2013.

21%: Percentage of long-term care services and supports that were provided through other public sources, 2013.

62%: Percentage of nursing-home residents whose care is provided by Medicaid.

20%: Percentage of Medicaid funding that went to pay long-term care costs in 2016.

38%: Expected increase in Medicaid spending for long-term care between 2016 and 2026.

$126,420: Maximum “countable” assets that a healthy spouse can retain for the other spouse to be eligible for long-term care benefits provided by Medicaid, 2019. (Actual amounts vary by state.)

$2,000: Maximum “countable” assets allowable for single individuals who are applying for long-term care provided by Medicaid. (New York state has a higher threshold: $15,450.)

$3,000: Maximum “countable” assets allowable for married couples who are applying together for long-term care provided by Medicaid.

$585,000: Maximum amount of home equity that a healthy spouse can retain, in addition to countable assets, for the other spouse to be eligible for long-term care benefits provided by Medicaid, 2019. (The limit is higher in certain states, such as California.)

$3,160.50: Maximum amount of monthly income that a healthy spouse can receive for the other spouse to be eligible for long-term care benefits provided by Medicaid, 2019. (Actual amounts vary by state.)

100: Days of care in a skilled nursing facility ("rehab") covered in full or in part by Medicare following a qualifying hospital stay.

Long-Term Care Insurance
11%: Percentage of adults 65 and older who have long-term care insurance coverage, 2014.

57: Average long-term care policy issue age.

55.1%: Percentage of long-term care policies purchased by women, 2018.

20.8%: Percentage of long-term care policies purchased by single people, 2018.

15%: Percentage of long-term care policies that were sold through workplace, 2018.

95.1%: Percentage of just-issued long-term policies that include home-care benefits that are at least equal to the in-facility benefit.

125: Number of insurers offering stand-alone long-term care policies, 2000.

17: Number of insurers offering stand-alone long-term care policies, 2016.

750,000: Number of individual long-term care insurance policies sold, 2002.

56,288: Number of individual long-term care insurance policies sold, 2018.

13.1%: Percentage drop in number of long-term care policies sold, 2017-18.

228,000: Number of hybrid life/long-term care policies sold to individuals, 2015.

461,000: Number of hybrid life/long-term care policies sold to individuals, 2018.

16%: Percentage of life insurance sales that are hybrid life/long-term care policies, 2017.

$1.87 billion: Annual claims on long-term care insurance policies, 2000.

$11 billion: Annual claims on long-term care insurance policies, 2017.

64%: Percentage of long-term care claims that were paid to women.

$2,169: Average annual premium, all in-force long-term care policies, 2018.

0.5%: Percentage of all businesses offering long-term care insurance to their employees.

52.2%: Percentage of long-term care claims paid to claimants between ages 81 and 90.

22%: Percentage of long-term care applicants ages 50-59 who were declined coverage.

30%: Percentage of long-term care applicants ages 60-69 who were declined coverage.

Christine Benz does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.