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Survey shows Minnesotans’ concern about losing health and needing care

2013 is time to explore ways to “Own Your Future” in senior years

Minnesotans’ biggest concern about their retirement years is losing health and needing care, according to results of the 2012 State Fair Survey of Retirement and Long-Term Care. A large majority of the 2,400 survey respondents also said they did not know how they would pay for long-term care.

Many Minnesotans resolved in the new year to address these concerns with a trip to the Own Your Future website, www.mn.gov/ownyourfuture, to begin planning for their long-term care needs.

Own Your Future is a state and federal initiative to promote long-term care planning. It was launched last fall with a letter from Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, urging Minnesotans ages 40 to 65 to plan for the often expensive long-term care many will need as they grow older. Many people mistakenly think that Medicare will pay for long-term care costs. In fact, Medicare only pays for long-term care costs under very limited circumstances.

The Own Your Future website takes participants through the steps of understanding what long-term care is, gathering information for a plan, figuring out how much care will cost and how to pay for it, and creating a plan.

“The Own Your Future initiative encourages planning for long-term care needs now instead of waiting for a crisis,” said Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota Department of Human Services. “Planning ahead gives you many more choices about where you will live in the future, who will help you if you need help, and how you can maintain quality of life for yourself and your family while receiving long-term care.”

The 2012 State Fair Survey of Retirement and Long-Term Care, conducted this year in the Education Building as part of the Own Your Future initiative, was the sixth such survey sponsored by the Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging since 1998. The sponsors have used the survey results to gauge concerns and behavior regarding planning for retirement and long-term care needs.

Survey highlights

Asked “What is your biggest concern about retirement?” nearly all age groups identified losing their health and needing care as they retire. Identifying this as their top concern were:

* 28 percent of those under age 44

* 43 percent to 57.7 percent of those in older age groups

* 44 percent of all income groups

* 33 percent of those with incomes under $20,000

* 50 percent of those with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000

Across all age groups, 27 percent said they did not know how they would pay for long-term care. This included 43 percent of those under age 44 and from 28 to 49 percent of the older age groups.

Asked how they would pay for long-term care:

* 30 percent said they plan to use personal savings and investments.

* 20 percent said they would use long-term care insurance, with up to 26 percent of those 65 and older identifying this option. (However, only about nine percent of Minnesotans are currently estimated to have long-term care insurance.)

* 12 percent said they would use a government program. (Only seven percent of those under 44 said they would use a government program, but 13 to 15 percent of the rest of the older age groups planned to use a government program.)

Some changes occurred between the 2011 and 2012 survey in how respondents plan to pay for their long-term care. More individuals plan to use personal savings (from 27 to 30 percent), fewer plan to use a government program (16 percent down to 12 percent), and more individuals don’t know how they will pay (from 25 to 27 percent).

More information is available on the Own Your Future website.

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