SOURCE: California Partnership for Long-Term Care

May 03, 2006 18:32 ET

Consumers Show Marked Improvement in Knowledge About the Realities of Long-Term Care

Two Out of Three Californians Are Unaware of Nursing Home Costs

SACRAMENTO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2006 -- Although Californians are showing a marked improvement in their understanding of long-term care issues, 65.4 percent underestimate the cost of long-term care and have not thought about the financial impact on themselves and their families, according to results of a statewide poll released today by the California Department of Health Services' (CDHS) California Partnership for Long-Term Care program (Partnership). The poll was conducted by the Field Institute.

"While we are gratified to see an improved understanding of long-term care issues, we still must better educate the public about the reality that one out of two Americans over age 65 will enter a nursing home some time in their lives," State Health Director Sandra Shewry said. "As the baby boomer generation moves toward retirement, it's vital that Californians understand and get prepared to deal with the challenges, realities and issues surrounding long-term care."

According to CDHS, the average cost for a one-year stay in a California nursing home is more than $69,000 in 2006, compared with $40,000 10 years ago and $55,000 in 2002. In 2003, Medi-Cal, the state's insurance program for the needy, covered 52 percent of the $7.5 billion in total expenditures spent for nursing home care in California.

"Recent federal legislation restricts Medi-Cal coverage of long-term care to individuals with very limited resources," Shewry said. "The Partnership provides people with an opportunity to provide for their long-term care needs both at home and if necessary, in a nursing home, while protecting their assets."

The Partnership, a CDHS program dedicated to educating Californians about the need for long-term care and cost, initially commissioned the poll 10 years ago to research the attitudes and perceptions of Californians on long-term care issues. Field polls were conducted in 1994, 1996, 2001 and 2005. The latest poll found that:

--  When comparing the results from 10 years ago to today, Californians
    are becoming significantly better informed on long-term care issues.
--  The number of Californians who expect the state to pay for the costs
    of long-term care decreased by 72 percent since 1994.  In 1994, 21.7
    percent of those polled believed that the government would take care of
    their long-term care expenses.  When the question was asked again in 2005,
    6.9 percent believed that government would cover those expenses.
--  Six out of 10 Californians surveyed understand that their health
    insurance does not cover long-term care.
--  Denial continues to be the most prevalent reason Californians use to
    avoid planning for long-term care.
--  More than two-thirds (67.8 percent) of Californians believe that they
    have less than a 50 percent chance to no chance at all of being admitted
    into a nursing home in their lifetime.
"Californians need to better prepare for their long-term care needs," Shewry said. "Every year, thousands of families face emotional devastation caused by the lack of preparedness for long-term care. I strongly encourage Californians to take that first step toward planning for their future long-term healthcare needs by contacting the Partnership."

For more information on the California Partnership for Long-Term Care, visit its Web site at or call 1-800-CARE-445.

Contact Information

    Brenda Bufford
    (916) 552-8982

    Amabelle Camba
    (800) 710-9333