Long Term Care Insurance In Other Countries Examined

A number of countries have instituted long term care programs according to a review discussed by the director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

According to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, a just published book, Universal Coverage of Long-Term Care in the United States, provides a look at the overall issue facing the country.

“Of particular interest were chapters dealing with how the issue has been and is being dealt with around the world,” Slome commented to a group of industry professionals yesterday.  “There is a certain peace that comes from ignoring the world around you.  It’s natural and today’s parsimonious political environment, it’s just too easy to say “enough” — what we are doing is just fine.”

Slome notes, despite the failure of the CLASS Act, which he ascribes to uninspired leadership, the long term care insurance expert says that “CLASS was an important building block that helped to make long-term care more prominent on the national agenda.”

“While it is unlikely that the United States with a history of private sector health financing will adopt a program similar to those already in place in other countries, reading how long term care is dealt with elsewhere provides historical perspective, factual data and valuable insight for anyone who has an interest in what will, I believe, be used to frame the discussion in the years to come,” the long term care insurance expert adds.

The authors lay out an interesting look at how various models have been shaped as much by politics and demographics as by societal factors such as family culture.  “Of particular interest is the consideration of the changing demographic of working women in these countries,” Slome comments.

Demographics clearly drove the need to address the issue with Germany and Spain.  Their population of persons age 65+ will increase from around 16 percent today to around 30 percent in 2040.  In Japan more than 14 percent of the population will be 80+ in 2040 (double that of the US).

Germany’s universal LTC legislation passed in 1994 when 15.8 percent of its population was age 65 or older.  Japan passed legislation in 1997, when its 65+ population was 15.7 percent.  The proportion of US citizens 65+ was 13.0 percent in 2010 and is expected to be 19.8 percent in 2030.

“Germany and Japan adopted many LTC reform goals and policies consonant with their existing structures, funding arrangements, and cultures, and the US is likely to ultimately do the same at some point,” Slome predicts.  “Americans are aging every day and few have a plan for dealing with the enormous risk of needing long term care that results from living a long life,” Slome explains.  “Long term care insurance is a viable option for those who can health qualify and can afford a private option leaving everyone else to depend on family or whatever government programs exist.”

The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance was established in 1998 to advocate for the importance of planning for long term care and to support insurance and financial professionals who market LTC insurance.  To learn more about long term care insurance costs call the organization’s offices at (818) 597-3227 or visit the Association’s website.

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