Nursing Home Care Tops $85,000 In Most Expensive Markets: Survey

By

A survey of nursing home costs commissioned by GE Financials Long Term Care Insurance division, Richmond, Va., shows that a year in a nursing home costs about $85,000 or more in the nations five most expensive areas.

The cost of a year of nursing home care in Alaska, the most expensive area in the country to obtain such care, is $166,700.

Louisiana is the least expensive, with an average annual cost of $35,900, according to the survey.

Evans Research, San Francisco, in May surveyed 2,218 skilled and intermediate care nursing homes in all 50 states, including 10% to 25% of the licensed nursing homes in each of the 74 individual areas surveyed.

The survey evaluated the cost of assistance in a nursing home with the activities of daily living for a person suffering from a debilitation such as Parkinsons disease.

It did not include costs for therapy, rehabilitation or medications.

The national annual average cost of a year in a nursing home is $57,700, which is a 7% increase from GE Financials initial survey, conducted in December 2001. So, the figures jumped a little less than 5% a year, says Carl Dombek, public relations manager, GE Financial.

The survey also revealed that costs vary widely, from a low of $69 per day at one nursing home in Oklahoma to a high of $720 per day at a facility in Alaska.

The survey did not evaluate the cost of assistance with activities of daily living provided either in the home or other types of facilities, including adult day care centers or assisted care facilities.

Buck Stinson, president of GE Financials Long Term Care Insurance division, said in a prepared statement, “these results show how quickly the cost of nursing home care could exhaust even a substantial nest egg and how valuable long term care insurance can be in helping protect the assets accumulated over a lifetime.

“More importantly, it underscores how critical it is for baby boomers to look into this vital form of protection while theyre still healthy enough to qualify,” he stated.

These figures are also meaningful to producers “for planning purposes so that people who are considering LTC can accurately assess the cost of care where they might receive it,” Dombek says. “So they have a factual basis for insuring, its good quantifiable information.”

Such information is particularly useful when working with group enrollments for companies with employees in different areas of the country.

Cindy Williams, co-director of LTCI Operations in the LTC Division of World Insurance Association Inc., Atlanta, was recently in Huntsville, Ala., where the figures for care are far different from other areas of the country where the company has employees.

Having figures for the cost of LTC care, “makes (clients) realize that LTC can be one of their greatest risks, and its something they need to plan for when theyre putting the rest of their financial picture together,” Williams says. “Most people arent aware of the cost until its too late.”

Jeanette M. Jones, president of Jeanette M. Jones and Associates Inc., Lansdale, Pa., says having such information is “good for impact if you have someone who doesnt believe there is a cost of care.

“There are people who believe theyre never going to have to pay this; the misconceptions are still there.”


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, August 4, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.