The annual cost of U.S. long term care averaged $72,240 in 2004.[@@]

Genworth Financial Inc., Richmond, Va., has published that figure in its latest LTC market report.

Genworth researchers came up with the overall average by coming up with the mean for care provided at home as well as care provided in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The researchers are basing their statistics on a survey of about 6,000 providers.

Costs in urban areas were 20% higher than nonurban areas, and costs were more than 40% higher in urbanized states such as California, Minnesota and New York, researchers found.

The average annual national cost of a private room in a nursing home was $65,200, or $179 per day, according to the survey. The 2004 average increased 13% from the 2003 average.

The average annual cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home was $57,700, or $158 per day.

Genworth’s figures are somewhat lower than those published in an earlier study backed by MetLife Inc., New York. In late 2004, MetLife researchers reported an average rate of $192 per day for a private room and $169 per day for a semiprivate room.

In the Genworth study report, cost averages for a private room range from $41,600 in nonurban areas in Missouri up to $191,400 in Alaska.

Average costs dropped 31% in North Dakota and 8% in Nebraska, but they rose 30% in Delaware.

Other Genworth study findings:

- The average annual cost of a private room in an assisted living facility was $28,800.

- Home health aides averaged $18.67 per hour.

- Homemaker services cost an average of $16.67 per hour.