The average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home rose to $70,912, or $194 a day, up 2% over $69,400, or $190 a day, last year, according to a Genworth Financial annual survey of LTC costs.

However, assisted living and in-home costs rose more sharply than nursing home care this year, Genworth’s study of Medicare-certified nursing homes showed.

For semi-private rooms, the annual cost rose to $62,532, compared to $61,000 in 2005, a rise of more than 2%.

The annual cost of an assisted living facility in a one-bedroom unit climbed almost 7% in the period, from $30,265 in 2005 to $32,294 this year, said Richmond, Va.-based Genworth.

The combined average hourly rate for in-home LTC provided by a home health aide shot up 13% to $25.32 per hour, from $22.43 a year ago.

In-home care prices in 2006 varied as follows:

o $36.22 per hour for certified home care providers, up 17%;

o $22.15 per hour for licensed but noncertified providers, up 19%;

o $17.57 per hour for noncertified, unlicensed providers, about the same as in 2005.

The main reason for the strong increase in home care was simply a case of supply and demand, said Neal McGarity, a Genworth spokesman.

“People are shifting out of nursing homes as a care option,” said McGarity. “More people want care at home if they can. This has been driving up costs.”

Alaska retained its standing as the costliest region for LTC, despite a drop there in nursing home costs for a private room from $201,000 last year to $191,140 in 2006, the survey reports.

New York City was the next costliest, coming in at an annual price of $140,708 for a private room this year.

The lowest costs for private rooms in nursing homes were in Louisiana, at $42,304, and Missouri (excluding St. Louis and Kansas City), at $43,249.

Nursing home care in urban regions averaged 17% more than in nonurban regions, increasing the gap from 12% last year.

The worst gap was in New York City, where the cost of nursing home care in a private room was 68% more than in New York state’s nonurban areas.

The study was conducted by CareScout Inc., Wellesley, Mass., in January and February 2006 among more than 9,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care providers throughout the United States.

Genworth also commissioned a related poll of 600 Americans aged 40 and up on their preparation for long term care.

The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, Alexandria, Va., found 65% of Americans had made no LTC plans for themselves or their spouse.