Poll Reveals Misconceptions About Medicare, Long-Term Care Among Americans

Law Firm Newswire



San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) October 18, 2017 – A survey conducted earlier this year revealed that two-thirds of adults age 40 and older feel unprepared for their own long-term care and have done little or no planning for it. In addition, an increasing number of Americans believe Medicare should pay for it.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research polled 1,341 older Americans nationwide about their views on current and future long-term care. Over 50 percent of survey respondents thought the government should take on a bigger role in helping people with long-term care expenses. In comparison to 2013, 39 percent more people thought Medicare should cover a significant portion of the costs of ongoing living assistance.

“Many aging individuals mistakenly believe they can depend on Medicare for long-term care,” commented nationally known estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix. “This is a false belief that can cause them to avoid planning for their own long-term care. The findings seem to suggest people are approaching old age without being adequately prepared for the costs involved.”

The results indicate more than half of Americans hope to turn to Medicare for ongoing living assistance if and when it becomes necessary. However, Medicare does not provide coverage for the majority of home caregiving or nursing care. While Medicaid may pay for long-term care, it is available only to low-income and disabled individuals and families. Importantly, and with good, proactive planning, eligibility can be achieved and most assets can be protected.

In addition, just a third of survey respondents said they have set aside financial resources to pay for nursing care or home health aides. Fewer than 50 percent have discussed their long-term care preferences with their families, with the majority of individuals believing they can depend on family members for care and support during old age. Most of those polled also do not have a living will or advance health care directive.

“It is important to have open and honest conversations with family members about everyone’s expectations and to ensure that key estate planning documents are in place,” said Gilfix. “Without communicating one’s plans for the future, significant problems can arise for those hoping to rely on family for long-term care.”