We recently wrote an article about women being the primary caregivers. It’s women, after all, who typically bear the primary responsibility of caring for aging and ailing family members. It’s women who have historically sacrificed career opportunities and shortchanged their own families because of what can become the overwhelming burden of caregiving.
But anyone who’s been part of a family where mom’s providing care knows that it’s not just a woman’s issue—it has a profound effect upon the entire family. Caring for an ailing parent can become a full-time job. It takes time away from the rest of the family, stirring up resentment that lingers for years and ripping families apart. Many children are too young to understand the demands of an old person who needs constant attention—endless doctor appointments, picking up medications, special meals. There is often a financial impact when Medicare and meager savings don’t cover the cost of extended care.
These statistics provide some insights into women’s health and potential long-term care (LTC) and long-term care insurance (LTCI) needs. According to a blog by Stephen D. Forman, CLTC, on the Long-Term Care Associate’s website:
The trouble with these statistics is that they’re backward-facing; the dynamics and demographics of American women are rapidly changing. Women’s lifespans are now shortening for a variety of reasons.
The male population is growing much faster than the female population in the age 60+ group, creating for the first time a gender balance among America’s seniors. To the surprise of many, 40% of adult caregivers are now men—up dramatically since 1996, when just 19% were men.
Sociologists expect this shift to continue trending upwards, altering the role of caregiving from a primarily female burden to a responsibility that’s shared. The new gender balance in the oldest age groups has wide implications for family relationships in old age and caretaking; it also means more potential partners for older women.
It’s clear that the LTC and subsequent LTCI needs of women exceed those of men, though the landscape is now changing. This, of course, affects LTCI pricing. There has always been gender-based pricing, but the cost of women’s and men’s care was “blended”. The reality is that men have been subsidizing women’s care for a long time.
But several insurance companies are now offering true gender-based pricing—not a “blended” pricing schematic. What this means for women is that they will be paying more than their male counterparts for the same coverage. Women’s rights advocates are aggressively opposing this, and the ACA bars sex discrimination in healthcare. This is especially disturbing in relation to new statistics that show the increased lifespans of men—whose needs for LTC and LTCI will be growing.
This is an important topic, and we’ll be providing more information about this in a future blog.
If you have questions about LTCI, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org, 510.342.2670, cjbins.com