Genworth CEO: Rising Costs Should Prompt Conversations on Long Term Care Planning

As Genworth Announces 2014 Cost of Care Survey Results, Consumers Urged to Discuss and Create a Plan for One of the Nation’s Most Important and Pervasive Social Issues

/ PR Newswire / — The cost of long term care continues rising at a rate outpacing inflation creating significant financial planning challenges for the nearly 12 million Americans currently in need of long term care services. According to the Genworth (NYSE: GNW) 2014 Cost of Care Survey released today, the cost of receiving in-home care continues to rise, though at a more moderate rate of growth. This is good news for consumers as almost three quarters of people needing long term care prefer receiving it in their homes, according to Genworth’s extensive claims data (Long term care claims Experience Data for Genworth Life Insurance Company and affiliates – December 1974-June 30, 2013).
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“Over the past 40 years, Genworth has worked hard to educate today’s families on the need to plan for the significant financial risk that long term care could impose on them,” said Tom McInerney, Genworth president and chief executive officer. “With the number of Americans over 65 projected to double over the next 40 years, continued increases in the cost of care and limited public financing options available to cover these costs, long term care is one of the most important social issues of our time.”

The Cost of Long Term Care

Nationally, the 2014 median hourly cost for the services of a homemaker or home health aide hired from a home care agency is $19 and $19.75 respectively. Homemaker costs have risen annually 1.2 percent on average over the past five years. Home health aide services have risen, on average, 1.32 percent annually over the past five years.

The cost to receive care in an assisted living facility is rising at a much faster rate. The median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $42,000. This represents an increase of 4.29 percent annually over the past five years. The comparable cost for a private nursing home room is $87,600, which has increased 4.19 percent annually over the past five years.

Bob Bua, Genworth vice president and business leader of its wholly owned subsidiary, CareScout, explains, “Since we first launched this study, we have seen long term care costs march higher year after year. If you live to 65, there is a 70 percent chance you will need some form of long term care services so creating a sound financial plan for managing future long term care costs is very important.”

Drivers of Rising Long Term Care Costs

Long term care costs are being driven up by a combination of economic and market factors. As a result, these associated costs are being passed along to consumers.

Based on Genworth’s claims experience, the average length of a long term care claim is about three years. Assuming three years of in-home care provided by a home health aide, the cost of care would be nearly $136,000. In an assisted living facility, this cost would approach $143,000. In a private nursing home room, this cost would exceed $260,000. At a three percent inflation rate, in 25 years, when many baby boomers will require long term care services, costs for an average length of stay in a private nursing home facility will be about $840,000, a huge expense that most Americans cannot afford.

“It is well known that most Americans do not have traditional pensions and many have saved far too little in their 401(k) plans or other products. For the vast majority of Americans, long term care costs are not covered by Medicare and Medicaid provides coverage only after life long savings have been nearly exhausted. Given these factors, private long term care insurance remains one of the most effective ways for Americans to prepare for this potentially significant expense later in life,” McInerney said.

Get Back to Basics: Create a Long Term Care Plan

Long term care planning is about more than just cost and it requires difficult family decisions and sacrifices. Planning today can save consumers from facing a crisis tomorrow. Having the right talk, the right way, at the right time, can ease the emotional and legal pressures of planning for long term care needs.

Genworth recommends the following tips regarding long term care:

  • Determine what’s important. Take time to carefully consider your needs, get educated and talk with your family so you can decide on the most appropriate option for your long term care needs.
  • Get educated. As the long term care landscape continues evolving and changing, stay up-to-date on the options available and determine what works best for your holistic retirement plan.
  • Plan. Now that you have a better idea of what you want, how much it costs and the key issues, get prepared with a basic plan. Outline your objectives, meet your goals and keep communicating with family.
  • Continue the conversation. Look for natural opportunities to talk with family and financial professionals about your plan. Don’t try to tackle too many issues at once. It may be easier to have a series of conversations over time. Visit Genworth’s Let’s Talk website to find tips on how to have a Long Term Care conversation.

Genworth can also be found online through their social media platforms. Find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Genworth/165752860178415. Watch Genworth informational videos and commercials at: http://www.youtube.com/genworthfinancialtv. To contact a Genworth Representative, please visit: https://www.genworth.com/contact-us.html or call 1-888-GENWORTH (1-888-436-9678).

About the Study

Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey is the most comprehensive study of its kind, covering nearly 15,000 long term care providers nationwide. The survey includes 440 regions which include covering all Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the 2013 Office of Management and Budget. Genworth annually surveys the cost of long term care across the U.S. to help Americans plan for the potential cost associated with the various types of long term care available in their preferred location and setting. CareScout®, part of the Genworth Financial family of companies, has conducted the survey since 2004. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, CareScout has specialized in helping families find long term care providers nationwide since 1997. Genworth’s 2014 Cost of Care Survey was conducted during January and February 2014.

About Genworth Financial

Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a leading Fortune 500 insurance holding company dedicated to helping people secure their financial lives, families and futures. Genworth has leadership positions in offerings that assist consumers in protecting themselves, investing for the future and planning for retirement -- including life insurance, long term care insurance, and financial protection coverages -- and mortgage insurance that helps consumers achieve home ownership while assisting lenders in managing their risk and capital.

Genworth operates through three divisions: U.S. Life Insurance, which includes life insurance, long term care insurance and fixed annuities; Global Mortgage Insurance, containing U.S. Mortgage Insurance and International Mortgage Insurance segments; and the Corporate and Other division, which includes the International Protection and Runoff segments. Products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors, independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth, headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, traces its roots back to 1871 and became a public company in 2004. For more information, visit genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth releases important information via postings on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to enroll to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new postings. Enrollment information is found under the “Investors” section of genworth.com.