Americans favor tax breaks to encourage savings for long term care

BY Patti Parson  May 20, 2014 at 3:55 PM EST

For the second year in a row, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs conducted a survey of attitudes towards long-term care among those over age 40. The survey, funded by a grant from The SCAN Foundation which is also a PBS NewsHour underwriter, found that 58%–a 7% increase from last year–now favor a government-administered long-term care insurance program and 81% favor tax breaks to encourage saving for long-term care. But when asked who should be responsible for paying the costs of ongoing costs, 54% favored health insurance companies while only 19% said individual families should take responsibility.

Who Americans 40 or older believe should be responsible for covering ongoing living assistance costs:

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As in last year’s survey, a large number of participants did not understand the role of Medicare. Although it only plays for brief stay in nursing facilities, 42% believe Medicare will pay for care in such a facility. In general, the poll found that Americans 40 or over also continue to underestimate the monthly cost of skilled nursing and overestimate the average monthly cost of assisted living.

Although we’ve covered caregiving in the past as “one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have,” in this survey, 83% of those who are caregivers say it’s been a positive experience—although those who have cared for a spouse or partner are the least likely to say it was a positive life experience.

Caregivers and their experience providing care by relationship to receiver of care:

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For more, read the full AP Norc survey, and explore our complete coverage of long-term care coverage.

Coverage of Long Term Care at the PBS NewsHour is underwritten by the SCAN Foundation.