About a quarter of long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy holders aged 65 let their policies lapse prior to death, forfeiting all benefits. We find that lapse rates are substantially higher among the cognitively impaired in the Health and Retirement Study. This generates a pernicious form of dynamic advantageous selection, as the cognitively impaired are more likely to use care. Simulations show that an inappropriate asset drawdown path further increases the individual welfare cost of unanticipated lapses. Meanwhile, we find evidence of a significant but very small role for either strategic or financial motives for lapsing.

Keywords: long-term care, insurance, lapsation
JEL Codes: J14, G41, G22

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