The cost of nursing home care in Alaska is still absurd.
Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW) reports in its latest cost of care survey report, which is based on data from CareScout, that the median annual cost of a private nursing home room in Alaska now stands at $281,415, and that the cost of private nursing home rooms there has increased an average of 7 percent per year for the past five years.
Of course, many products and services are extremely expensive in Alaska, because Alaska is far from the usual suppliers of things urban and suburban Americans typically like. But the median annual cost of a private nursing home room in the United States as a whole is also absurd: $91,250. That rate has been going up about 4 percent per year over the past five years.
Making do with the annoyance of living in a semiprivate room slashes that absurd amount to another absurd figure: $80,300.
See also: The cost of care
How can anyone other than the 1 percent possibly afford to $80,300 per year for care?
One answer is that the expanding supply of other long-term care (LTC) options has made nursing homes more like long-term care hospitals for the very sick than like the retirement homes of the past. Many of the “oldest old” can make do with rooms in assisted living facilities (ALFs), or with home and community-based services.
In some cases, for example, adult children who work may use a type of community-based care, the adult day health care center, during the day, then come home and look after their parents or in-laws in the evening and at night.
The median daily rate for adult day health care is just $69 per day, or about $17,000 for 50 five-day weeks of care. That’s almost 80 percent cheaper than paying for a semiprivate room in a nursing home
At the state-level, median adult day health care rates range from less than $10,000 to more than $30,000. That raises the question: For caregivers who are already retired and have a choice about where to live, is one of the best LTC financing strategies simply to move to a state with good, cheap adult day care centers?
For a look at the five states with the lowest median adult day health care rates, read on.
5. North Carolina
2015 adult day care, median: $13,260
5-year annual price growth rate: +1 percent
2015 nursing home, private room, median: $82,125