Paying for long-term care.


Everyone agrees that insurance for long-term care is inadequate in the United States. Disagreement exists, however, on whether such insurance should be provided through the private or public sector. Private insurance generally uses the experience-rating principle that persons with higher risk of illness are charged higher premiums. For private insurance for long-term care, this principle creates a dilemma. Most policies will be purchased by the elderly; yet, because the elderly have a high risk of needing long-term care, only about 20% of them can afford the cost of premiums. A public-private partnership by which the government partially subsidizes private long-term-care insurance is unlikely to resolve this dilemma. Only a social insurance program for long-term care can provide universal, affordable, and equitable coverage.

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