NU Online News Service, March 6, 10:01 a.m. – A recently released survey from GE Long Term Care Insurance, San Rafael, Calif., found that the price for a year in a facility in one of the 10 most expensive areas in the United States is roughly $80,000.

Or more.

The number is no surprise to Joe Luchok, a spokesman for the Health Insurance Association of America, Washington.

“This is one of the reasons we continue to feel long-term care insurance is one of the most important things a person can get,” Luchok says. “We don’t think that a lot of people realize how costly [the care] is and how it could in essence bankrupt them or their families.”

Brokers can use the survey results to “point out to people what the costs of long-term care are,” Luchok says. “We found that people tend to confuse the cost of care with the cost of long-term care policies. It’s important that we emphasize to these people the policy is not nearly as much as the care.”

GE Long Term Care Insurance itself emphasizes two key points: that about 40% of people reaching age 70 are expected to need some type of long term care during the rest of their lives, and that only 7% of Americans have planned for potential long term care needs.

Other survey results:

The national annual average cost of a year in a nursing home is $54,900.

The lowest daily cost was $52.14, at a nursing home in Montana.

The highest daily cost was $704, at a facility on an island in Alaska.

The survey reached 2,462 skilled and intermediate care nursing homes across the country. Researchers asked only about the cost of basic care, not about the cost of therapy, medications, or services such as home care.