Long Term Care National and Local Cost Trends

Every baby boomer needs to think about long term care needs and costs. The odds are quite high that one of you will need it. Can you afford it?

This is the question that I asked myself two years ago when we bought long term care insurance.  I looked at the costs again last winter when I heard that our long term care insurer MetLife was exiting the business. I convened a meeting with our broker.  When we compared the cost of switching to a different insurer, we were shocked by the cost differences. It made no sense to switch. I expect that our premiums will increase but we are probably at an optimal situation for now.

Genworth Financial is a long term care insurance provider. It publishes results of annual surveys of long term care costs, both nationally and by individual state and city. The 2011 survey results were interesting, at least to me.

First, home care costs remained flat while institutional care costs continued to rise.  Genworth commented on this trend as follows:

Home care rates have remained flat in part because of increased competition among agencies and the availability of unskilled labor, and by avoiding costs associated with maintaining stand-alone health care facilities.

Genworth’s own data shows that most consumers prefer to receive long term care in their homes. Indeed, two-thirds of Genworth’s initial long-term care insurance claims are for in-home benefits.

The cost of long term care can vary substantially from state to state.  For nursing home care in a semi-private room, the U.S. average median annual rate is $70,445.  The state with the highest median annual rate is Alaska at $222,285.  The state with the lowest median annual rate is Texas at $46,355. (Another reason not to retire in Alaska!)

The national median daily rate for a private room in a nursing home is $213. This is an increase of 5.1% over 2010 and is part of a six-year annual growth rate of 4.35%.

Assisted living facilities come with a national median monthly rate of  $3261, a 2.4% increase over 2010 and part of a six-year aaverage annual growth rate of 5.99%,

It is obvious to me from these trends that for long term care insurance to work, you need to purchase inflation protection for the coverage amount.

To see the data in more detail, including the ability to generate a long term care cost report for your own state and city, here is the link: 2011 Cost of Care: Long Term Care Survey.

I encourage you to read it carefully and plan ahead for your own long term care future.


  1. says

    Most people overestimate the cost of a good long-term care policy. A healthy, married couple in their mid-fifties, can share a policy that starts off with over a half million in benefits for about $100 per month per spouse.

    There’s a new type of government-approved long-term care policy that can protect your assets from Medicaid even if the policy runs out of benefits.

    Here’s an explanation of how these policies work:



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