Poll: Many believe that long-term care financing is mostly private pay

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Many Americans mistakenly believe that long-term care in the United States is primarily paid for out-of-pocket, according to the latest poll to show how deeply people misunderstand this aspect of the healthcare system.

The Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll compiled information from 2,013 adults who were surveyed online in September.

When asked how long-term care is paid for, 49% said private pay by individuals cover the bulk, and about a third said Medicare. A fifth of respondents correctly said Medicaid is the primary payer for long-term care.

Despite such widespread misunderstanding, 87% of people said the problem of how to pay for long-term care is “serious” or “somewhat serious.” And nearly 80% said they would support tax breaks to help people pay for long-term care insurance, with both Republicans and Democrats showing support.

The poll, released yesterday, comes shortly after the Congressional Long-Term Care Commission issued its report. The group was unable to agree on recommendations for how to reform the long-term care financing system, leading five commissioners to issue a separate report.