There are conflicting studies out there about the topic of long-term care insurance (which encapsulates nursing homes and 24-care, among other things). Some studies indicate that many people need such insurance -- but that there are far too few people who actually follow through on the purchase.
But then a recent study was released, reportedly using more accurate measures and metrics, that says not everyone needs long-term care insurance. The study says it makes financial sense for the richest 20-30 percent of unmarried people. One of the reasons it asserts this is because many nursing home stays are shorter than people believe.
On average, men stayed in a nursing home for about a year according to the study. Women stayed for about 17 months. While these are certainly significant portions of time, they represent about 30 percent less time than previously believed, and the study also found that 45 percent of people didn't stay at a nursing home for more than three months.
There's no doubt that long-term care, and the insurance that surrounds it, is a very expensive endeavor. It can be complicated, and the idea of whether it is "worth it" or not may be a question that most people wrestle with.
However, though there may be people out there who don't need the insurance, there are many people who do, indeed, need the insurance. It all depends on the individual and the specific circumstances involved -- but most people should at least consider the possibility, even if they eventually decline.
Source: Bloomberg, "Maybe You Don't Need Long-Term Care Insurance After All," Ben Steverman, Nov. 12, 2014