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Semiprivate Nursing Home Room Cost Rises 9.2%: Mutual of Omaha

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What You Need to Know

  • The cost of a private Alaska nursing home room fell sharply, to $183,600 per year.
  • In West Virginia, the annual cost of a home health aide is a bargain.
  • Mutual of Omaha wants financial professionals to think about what care might cost in 2046.

COVID-19 may have increased the average cost of some types of long-term care in the United States in 2020 and cut the cost of other types LTC care.

Mutual of Omaha has given data supporting that assessment in a new cost-of-care report, based on data from LTCG. LTCI Partners, a long-term care insurance (LTCI) distributor, has posted a copy of the report on its website.

The new survey report, based on figures collected in 2020, shows that cost trends for different types of LTC services varied widely.

The cost of a stay in an assisted living facility apartment actually fell 1.6%. That may be because some assisted living facility residents are healthy enough to have a relatively easy time living in the community.

The cost of a stay in a semiprivate room in a nursing home increased the most: 9.2%. Semiprivate nursing home rooms may have benefited from being a relatively affordable option for people who had a clear need for high-level care but who wanted to socially distance.

LTCG is an Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based company that helps insurers manage their LTCI operations. The company has based the latest cost of care study on responses from about 30,000 U.S. providers.

Here’s what happened to average annualized U.S. LTC costs between 2019 and 2020:

  • Home health aide services: $58,619 per year (up from $56,399)
  • A studio room in assisted living facility: $57,610 per year (down from $58,553)
  • A semi-private skilled nursing facility room: $98,129 per year, (up from $89,899)
  • A private skilled nursing facility room: $112,291 per year (up from $109,231)

The cost of care varies widely from state to state.

The most expensive figure in the Mutual of Omaha/LTCG data table is, as usual, the annual cost of a private nursing home room in Alaska: $183,600. That cost was actually  down from $248,130 in in 2019.

The most affordable figure in the data table is a year of care from a home health aide in West Virginia, which fell to $47,384 in 2020, from $49,284 in 2019.

The Future

Typical purchasers of long-term care insurance are under the age of 65, and years away from needing LTC services.

Mutual of Omaha says long-term care planners should try to help clients think about what care might cost in 2046.

If average U.S. home health aide costs increase 3% per year, for example, the annual cost of home health aide services could rise to more than $126,000 in 2046, according to Mutual of Omaha calculations based on the LTCG data.

Financial professionals also can put other figures, such as 1% or 10%, in the assumed inflation rate field.

What the Numbers Mean

Like other surveys put out by long-term care insurance issuers, the new Mutual of Omaha cost-of-care report shows that three years of long-term care can easily cost as much as a small house.

Mutual of Omaha says showing consumers what care costs is a good way to get them to think about LTC planning options.

(Photo: Shutterstock)