A Sky High Expense

The steadily rising price of nursing home care has made it less accessible to those in need.

JHC-Sept15-iStock_000047643608_LargeAt one time considered a large expense, nursing home care today presents an insurmountable cost to many. The daily U.S. median cost of staying at a facility is $220 for a semi-private room and $250 for a private room, according to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey. The cost of staying in a nursing home has risen 4 percent each year over the past five years, according to a Chicago Tribune account of the report. In the last year alone, the median bill for a private room has jumped from $87,600 to $91,250.

Whereas in the past, individuals often have selected their long-term care based on their health requirements, today they may be forced to consider more options, including home healthcare and adult day healthcare. Unfortunately, the price of these services continues to climb as well, notes the survey:

  • Homemaker services, including hands-off care such as cooking, cleaning and running errands. The national median hourly rate is $20 – a 2.63 percent increase over 2014.
  • Home health aide services, including hands-on personal care (excluding medical care). The national median hourly rate is $20 – a 1.27 percent increase over 2014.
  • Adult day healthcare, including social and support services in a community-based, protective setting. Some programs provide personal care, transportation, medical management and meals. The national median hourly rate is $69 – a 5.94 percent increase over 2014.
  • Assisted living facility. Typically this level of care is less extensive than that offered in nursing homes. The national median monthly rate is $3,600 – a 2.86 percent increase over 2014.
  • Nursing home care, designed to offer residents personal assistance, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies and rehabilitation, as well as 24-hour on site nursing care. The national median rate for a semi-private room – $220 – represents a 3.77 percent increase over 2014. The national median rate for a private room – $250 – represents a 4.17 percent increase over 2014.

As more people make the decision to live at home for as long as possible, this impacts their decision to purchase long-term care insurance, according to Genworth. In addition, experts point out that many aging baby boomers are becoming thriftier than ever, sometimes refinancing their home or leaving Social Security benefits untouched for potential long-term care expenses.

State by state
The cost of long-term care varies depending on one’s state of residency. For instance, the annual rate of $281,415 for a private nursing home room in Alaska may be cause for some baby boomers to rethink their retirement plans. On the other hand, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey highlights several more affordable states, such as Arizona ($65,850 per year for a private room), Missouri ($60,773) and Kansas ($65, 700). The coastal states (both West and East) are substantially more expensive – though, with the exception of Connecticut, not half as much as it costs in Alaska.

The cost of semi-private rooms, while less expensive, also fluctuate state by state. Again, annual residence care in Alaska and Connecticut comes with a higher price tag ($281,415 and $146,000 respectively). And, the cost of care is less in the Midwest and Southern states. The annual cost of assisted care living for a one-bedroom single occupancy ranges from $36,120 in Louisiana to over $94,000 in the D.C. area.

Editor’s note: To learn more about the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey visit https://www.genworth.com/corporate/about-genworth/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html.

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