AARP Research

The Costs of Long-Term Care: Public Perceptions Versus Reality

Americans age 45 and older think they know more about long-term care (LTC) costs and how to pay for them than they actually do. And much of what they think they know may be wrong.

  • When asked to estimate costs for a variety of services, only small numbers ofthose surveyed came within 20% plus-or-minus of available data.
  • When asked whether or not Medicare, Medigap/Medicare supplemental insurance, or Medicaid/Medi-Cal covers various types of long-term care, many often think that funding sources are available when they are not available.
  • Many 45+ Americans believe they have LTC coverage when they probably do not, and may be confusing LTC insurance with other types of coverage, such asdisability insurance or Medicare.


The study was conducted – and the report prepared – for AARP by Roper ASW. Survey data were gathered through telephone interviews with a national random sample of 1,800 age 45+ adults between July 20 and August 14, 2001. In addition, state-level data were gathered from July 27 to August 21 via telephone interviews with a random sample of 400 people in each of the following states – California, Florida, New Mexico, Washington state and Wisconsin. (127 pages)

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