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MassMutual research exposes perceived impact of COVID-19 on the probability of chronic conditions and plans for funding

October 26th, 2023

Springfield, Mass. – The latest research from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) exposes how COVID-19 has shifted perceptions and plans among working Americans when it comes to chronic health issues.

The 2023 MassMutual Chronic Care Study revealed that while nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of working Americans across all age groups are concerned about a chronic condition or illness and its impact on their lives, many may not be as prepared financially for the possibility of medical care to address pre-existing or long-term illnesses as they might believe or need to be.

“We believe that financial wellness is in everyone’s best interest, and when people have a game plan for meeting financial goals and potential challenges ahead, they’re more positive and productive in their personal and professional lives,” said Shefali Desai, head of worksite, MassMutual. “It makes sense that people prepare for future possibilities and uncertainties, especially given the recent experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Key findings of the 2023 MassMutual Chronic Care Study:

  • Nearly one quarter (22%) said that COVID-19 has increased their personal chances of requiring chronic care in the future..
  • More than half expect the need for chronic care at some point in their life.
  • The top three concerns about chronic care cited by survey respondents were the expense of chronic care over months or years, losing their ability to be active, and losing their independence.
  • Interest in learning about chronic care coverage peaks at age 41-50, although surprisingly, there is a nearly equal level of interest for those age 31-40. Interestingly, 70% of working Americans correctly estimated the cost of daily home health care while 53% underestimated the annual cost of basic nursing home care.
  • While over half (55%) plan to use savings to pay for chronic care needs, 78% are interested in purchasing chronic care coverage through their employer. Furthermore, 81% expressed interest in purchasing life insurance coverage that offers a chronic care living benefit.

As medical costs continue to rise and higher inflation puts added stress on employees, many who suffer from a chronic illness may experience financial hardship. While employer-sponsored health coverage typically covers a large portion of medical costs, employees are responsible for plan deductibles, co-pays and any out-of-pocket maximums, which can place a financial burden on families. They also may suffer loss of income if their ability to work is compromised.

“Insurance coverage that include chronic care benefits are an appropriate and easily available option for working Americans today,” said Desai. “There is a high cost to both workers and their employers when a chronic illness endures, and companies looking to build a more resilient and productive workforce understand the importance of providing a solid foundation of voluntary benefits that their employees can use to meet those financial challenges that may lie ahead.”

A Chronic Care Benefit feature is included on all Group Whole Life insurance certificates from MassMutual in approved states.* Importantly:

  • No medical exams are required for the insurance coverage and applying is easy. Only a few questions need to be answered to determine eligibility.
  • There is no additional premium required for the chronic care benefit and there are no out-of-pocket costs to the certificate owner.
  • In order to exercise the chronic care benefit, a qualified medical practitioner must certify that the insured has a chronic illness, and fees are assessed only if the Chronic Care Benefit is exercised.

“Companies have an opportunity to give their employees access to voluntary benefits that can help them, and employees have a responsibility to plan ahead for their future,” concluded Desai.

To help address the need for practical solutions to the growing financial burden of chronic illness, MassMutual commissioned the 2023 MassMutual Chronic Care Study with PSB Insights to survey 2,102 Americans in February 2023 about their attitudes, awareness and preparation for dealing with a chronic condition. Of this group, 1,113 respondents were classified as working Americans.

About MassMutual
MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyowners. Founded in 1851, the company has been continually guided by one consistent purpose: we help people secure their future and protect the ones they love. With a focus on delivering long-term value, MassMutual offers a wide range of protection, accumulation, wealth management and retirement products and services. For more information, visit

*The Chronic Care Benefit is neither long term care, nursing- home, or home care insurance and is not conditioned upon the receipt of long-term care or medical services.

State variations will apply. Certain features are not available in all states. The Chronic Care Benefit is not available in Massachusetts.

Group Whole Life insurance (GPWL), (policy/certificate forms MM-GPWL-2014 and MM-GCWL-2014, and MM-GPWL-2014 (NC) and MM-GCWL-2014 (NC) in North Carolina), is level-premium, participating permanent life insurance. The GPWL policy and GCWL certificates are issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001.