Long-Term Care Cost Increases Closely Track Rate of Inflation

Costs for nursing homes and assisted living continue slow rise

Long-term care costs continue to rise, though not at the same rate of other goods and services, a survey released Wednesday by John Hancock Financial found. The survey found that the increases in long-term care costs closely match the average annual rate of inflation of 4.1%.

The national average for a private room in a nursing home is $85,775 per year, and $75,555 for a semi-private room. The national average cost to stay in an assisted living facility is $39,240. At-home care costs averaged $20 per hour.

John Hancock calculated a nine-year average to track the increase in long-term care costs. According to the results, the average cost of a private nursing home room rose 3.5% per year, while the average cost for a month of care in an assisted living facility has risen 3.4% per year. The average cost of a semi-private nursing home room rose 3.2%, and the average hourly cost for a home health aide has risen just 1.3%.

"The ongoing effect of the recession on the nest eggs of so many individuals underscores the importance of planning for the future," Marianne Harrison, president of John Hancock LTC, said in a press release. "John Hancock believes that long-term care insurance is an integral component of any prudent financial plan. Our cost of care studies are intended to help people better understand and prepare for their future long-term care needs."

In 2010, the 10 leading insurers – including John Hancock - paid nearly $11 million in daily claim benefits, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. On Monday, AALTCI reported that the number of residents who own long-term care insurance policies increased in 25 states, despite several insurers leaving the market.

Click here for a list of online resources to help provide comfort, support and resources for caregivers to the elderly.

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