Survey: Many Believe Government and Health Insurance Cover Long-Term Services

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County Office of Aging LogoThe majority of people in Hawai‘i erroneously believe their health insurance plan and government programs will cover the costs for long-term services and supports, according to a recent statewide survey commissioned by of the State of Hawai‘i Executive Office on Aging.

The survey, conducted by Market Trends Pacific as part of a long-term services and supports public awareness campaign, showed that slightly more than half of respondents (about 54%) are very or fairly familiar with long-term care, while about a fourth of the respondents (24%) has any familiarity with long-term services and supports.

Groups who are least aware of long-term care are younger residents who have been in Hawai‘i for 20 years or less, non-home owners, persons without a college degree and males.

The survey results showed many are unclear about who pays for long-term care: 39% think that their health insurance covers long-term care, and 24% trust that the government will help them. The majority of respondents identified health insurance, personal savings, Medicaid or Medicare as funding sources.

“Many in Hawai‘i may be aware of the need for long-term care, but there is clearly a smaller percentage who are aware of the need to prepare for the costs associated with that care,” said Terri Byers, director of the Executive Office on Aging. “We know that we should save and plan for college or retirement, but long-term care is not often part of the picture, despite the fact that 70% of us will use long-term services and supports at some point in our lives. We recognize that we must begin to change this.”


The cost of long-term care is one of the obstacles to preparing for long-term services and supports. Young adults with other financial obligations already have difficulty making ends meet.

“This is not an issue on their radar and the costs may make many shy away from even trying to plan for long-term care,” Byers said.

“The Executive Office on Aging is launching a public awareness campaign in early 2016 to help people understand their options and the need to plan ahead to enjoy more choices, and to avoid the risks of not being financially prepared,” Byers said. “Many have been led to believe impoverishing themselves to qualify for government assistance is the best solution, but this ultimately limits their options.

“It is clear that there are no private products available on the market that provide an answer for everyone and the best made plans don’t always materialize,” Byers continued. “Our ultimate goal is to initiate a conversation and inspire more people to find out all they can to be prepared mentally, emotionally and financially to create a personal plan for care that is sustainable and adaptable.”


Survey Information

Market Trends Pacific Inc. conducted a total of 603 surveys of full-time Hawai‘i residents (six months or more) 18 years of age or older. The sample included RDD (random digit dialing) residential landline and cell phone numbers from a professional national survey sampling firm.

Respondents were also encouraged to complete the survey online. Market Trends Pacific developed the questionnaire in conjunction with communications consulting firm, Strategic Communication Solutions, and the Executive Office on Aging.

There was a total of 297 landline phone and mobile interviews and 306 online questionnaires. The survey results are available from the Executive Office on Aging’s Aging and Disability Resource Center website at


In the survey, 366 interviews were completed with residents of the City & County of Honolulu, 108 with Hawai‘i County residents, 73 with residents of Maui County and 56 with Kaua‘i residents. The statewide data file was weighted on the basis of estimates of the number of householders by county and age from the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census, with equal gender counts assumed.


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