The evolving nature of long-term care insurance policies means fewer beneficiaries end up in nursing homes, according to an industry group that released a new claims analysis Friday.

More than half (52.1%) of all new long-term care insurance claims began in the home setting in 2017, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.

“People continue to mistakenly associate long-term care insurance exclusively with skilled nursing home care,” said Jesse Slome, director of the long-term care insurance organization. “Nearly one in five claims (19.7%) started in an assisted living facility and only 28.2% commenced in a skilled nursing home.”  

And most claims start and end where they begin, Slome noted.

AALTCI reviewed data from six undisclosed long-term care insurance companies that Slome called industry leaders. The nation’s long-term care insurance companies paid $9.2 billion in claim benefits in 2017 to 295,000 individuals according to AALTCI.

“The first long-term care insurance policies only paid for care in a skilled nursing facility,” Slome said in an email to McKnights. “For many years, insurance company literature and their annual pricing studies focused so much attention on nursing home costs and risks that consumers associated long-term care insurance primarily with nursing home care. Consumers today want options including the ability to receive needed care in their own home.”

“Some claims progress from the home to a skilled care facility but the percentage is smaller than one might assume,” he added.

Women accounted for over two-thirds of newly opened claims in 2017. Almost 20% of their new claims started in a nursing home setting while 34% began at home.