The Long-Term-Care Insurance Puzzle: Modeling and Measurement

The Long-Term-Care Insurance Puzzle: Modeling and Measurement

By John Ameriks, Joseph Briggs, Andrew Caplin, Matthew D. Shapiro, Christopher Tonetti
June 2018Working Paper No. 3485

Individuals face significant late-in-life risks, including needing long-term care (LTC). Yet, they hold little long-term care insurance (LTCI). Using both “strategic survey questions,” which identify preferences, and stated demand questions, this paper investigates the degree to which a fundamental lack of interest and poor product features determine low LTCI holdings. It estimates a rich set of individual-level preferences and uses a life-cycle model to predict insurance demand, finding that better insurance would be far more widely held than are products in the market. Comparing stated and model-predicted demand shows that flaws in existing products provide a significant, but partial, explanation for this under-insurance puzzle.

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