How Likely Am I to Need Long-Term Care? If you were to suffer an illness or disability that required long-term nursing care, would you be covered?Probably not. The vast majority of Americans go through their lives reassuring themselves that it will never happen to them. However, if past trends continue, 43 percent of those aged 65 may spend some time in a nursing home during their lifetimes. Of that 43 percent, the average person may stay in a nursing home for 2.5 years! And 21 percent can expect to stay 5 years or more.That means it could very well happen to you. And while nursing home costs vary from area to area, the average cost of a one-year stay in a nursing home is $64,200. And by 2015, that number could soar to more than $98,000 per year.So who’s paying for all that care? According to the Long-Term Care Financing Project at Georgetown University, nearly 40% of the costs are borne by the elderly and their families.Medicaid, the joint federal and state program that covers medical bills for the needy, pays a substantial portion of long-term-care costs, but usually only for those who are impoverished.And Medicare is not paying much of the cost of long-term care. That’s why the elderly should not rely on Medicare for their long-term-care needs.Private insurance is paying for only 10 percent of all nursing care costs. Clearly, long-term-care costs pose a real problem for the elderly and their families. A long-term-care insurance policy can help preserve your accumulated wealth and provide guaranteed coverage in the event you need long-term care. This can go far in helping to ensure a financially secure, dignified lifestyle during retirement.