SOURCE: National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Insurance

Short term care insurance organization

April 20, 2016 10:18 ET

Sales of Short-Term Care Insurance Policies Grow 20 Percent

Consumers Increasingly Favor Alternative for Long-Term Care Protection Reports National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - April 20, 2016) -  An increasing number of Americans are purchasing short-term care insurance protection to cover gaps in Medicare according to a just-released industry report.

"Short-term care insurance is gaining favor among seniors as a long-term care planning alternative when cost, age or health is an issue," explains Jesse Slome, director of the National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information. "It also covers some gaps in Medicare coverage that can cost people thousands of dollars if they are hospitalized or require subsequent care at home or in a skilled nursing facility."

In 2015, sales of short-term care insurance policies increased by 19.6 percent compared to the prior year according to the organization that analyzed industry data from leading short-term care insurance companies.

Short-term care insurance policies generally provide coverage for up to 360 days and can pay for home care assistance, assisted living and skilled nursing home care costs. "These policies are ideal for individuals concerned about the cost of traditional long-term care insurance," Slome adds. "It's a great option for people who waited too long to start the long-term care planning process."

Slome, who is also executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, notes that 41 percent of long-term care insurance claims last one year or less. "For many people, a year of short-term care coverage is all they'll need," Slome explains. "Plus, it can be easier to qualify to receive benefits, a definite advantage when care is ultimately needed."

Most Short-Term Care Insurance Buyers Over Age 60; Average Cost $1,043-Per-Year

The average cost for a short-term care insurance policy was $1,043-per-year (2015), a 5.3 percent increase over the 2014 average according to the Center's study. The study looked at buyer data for over 37,000 policies purchased.

The majority of buyers of short-term care insurance policies were 60 or older, the analysis found. "Some 45 percent were between ages 61 and 70 and around a third (36.5%) were between 71 and 80," Slome noted. 

Several short-term care insurance companies will accept applications from individuals in their 80s. "This can be an ideal option for individuals who put off planning for the very real risk of needing long-term care," Slome shares. "Even if you've been declined for traditional long-term care insurance, you may still be eligible for short-term care insurance coverage."

Important Coverage For Gaps In Medicare Benefits

"Millions of Americans on Medicare are not aware of significant changes that can cost them thousands of dollars," Slome explains. "Hospitalized patients coded as 'Observation Status' may not meet the requirement for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility care and more recent changes can impact those who undergo a knee or hip replacement. Short-term care insurance can be a very affordable way to cover gaps in Medicare and it's vital for seniors to get the information they need to plan."

To learn more about short-term care insurance costs and options, visit the National Advisory Center for Short-Term Care Information's website at www.shorttermcareinsurance.org. To find a local Medicare Supplement agent visit the national online Find An Agent Directory hosted by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance at www.medicaresupp.org.

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