Financial Hit. Families Paid Nearly $46 Billion to Nursing Homes

Families are being devastated by long-term care expenses. Out-of-pocket nursing home expenses were nearly $46 Billion in 2019. This does not include assisted living and in-home long-term care costs. Most long-term care services are delivered outside of nursing homes.

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Financial Hit. Families Paid Nearly $46 Billion to Nursing Homes
5 Min Read March 11th, 2021

New data released by a national trade group shows more Americans are financially devastated by long-term care costs. An analysis of the latest data available shows 2019 again as being the costliest year to date.

"While Medicare and Medicaid continue to pay the majority of nursing home costs, individuals and families are shelling out more than ever," explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national consumer education group and trade group.

The out-of-pocket costs for nursing homes reached $45.6 Billion in 2019. This total represents an increase of $5.6 Billion compared to the expenses in 2015. The total costs do not include costs for other types of long-term health care, including assisted living facilities and in-home care.

Slome said the out-of-pocket expenditures for nursing homes grew by 4 percent in 2019 compared to the prior year.

"In 2000, some $26.9 Billion was paid out-of-pocket, and in 2010 the amount reported was $37.1 Billion," Slome explained. "While people today are opting for care at home, nursing homes still are still utilized when long-term care services are required."

<span class=Nursing Care Facility Spending Growth" width="600" border="0" />

In-Home Care Costs Increasing

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, most people have always wanted to age at home. In-home care has always been a priority for most American families. These costs are also increasing each year significantly. While health insurance and Medicare cover a small portion (usually a limited amount of in-home recovery following a surgery), $12.5 Billion was paid out of pocket in 2019, the latest reporting year.

Home Care Expenditures Growing Yearly

Unpaid family caregivers provide most in-home care. The AARP reported that about 41 million unpaid family caregivers provided an estimated 34 billion hours of care — worth a staggering $470 Billion.

Family caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding. One of the primary reasons many people look at planning for long-term care is that they don't want to place the future responsibility of their future care on their adult children. 

Preparing for Future Costs and Burdens of Long-Term Health Care Key

A majority of Americans are concerned about how they will handle future long-term health care costs. Recent research indicates three out of four Americans over age 40 are not confident that they will have the money to pay for the expected future care. 

While more Americans realize long-term care is a significant obstacle to their future retirement, few have taken any action to plan for the costs and burdens that come with aging. 

"People today live longer than their parents did, but they do so with more chronic illness and challenges influencing their ability to live independently, according to Bruce Chernof, MD, the President and CEO of the SCAN Foundation.

While many American families are struggling to pay for long-term health care or provide care for their family members, people in their 40s and 50s, who should be thinking about their future, are not doing so in meaningful numbers. In other words, they have not done anything different than their own parents in planning for their future.

LTC Costs Will Increase in the Decades Ahead

The cost of long-term health care services increases every year. Due in part to demographics and COVID-19, the costs may increase faster in the decades ahead. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows both the current and expect future care costs where you live.

The bottom line, the challenges they see their older family members face have not encouraged them to take action to protect their own assets and reduce the burdens their children will face in the decades ahead.

An LTC NEWS survey of top Long-Term Care Insurance specialists shows more people in their 40s and 50s seek information on long-term health care planning; however, many still say they will wait until they are older. 

The problems with waiting are two-fold. Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten. You experience changes in your health as you get older. These changes in your health not only cause policies to be more costly and difficult to obtain, but you might also become completely uninsurable. 

LTC Insurance premiums are calculated with several factors, including your age when you apply for coverage, health, and family history. Not only does your health change over time - so does your family history if you still have living relatives. 

Cost Of Waiting To Apply

Plus, insurance companies update their products every few years. The new product series also increase the costs for the policy. Plus, features and available benefits available for purchase are often reduced with new product series. In other words, you will never be able to obtain the most benefits at the lowest cost than you can today.

People need long-term care services due to health problems, accidents, and the consequences of getting older. Once you get into your 40s, you start noticing changes in your body and health. Over time some will also see a decline in memory. These changes often result in your need for help with normal living activities you take for granted today. 

Most Long-Term Care Insurance claims start with in-home care. The desire for in-home care has increased due to the COVID-19 crisis, but LTC Insurance will pay for all types of care. You maintain control when you own a policy, and your family has the time to be family instead of caregivers. 

LTC Insurance Premiums Vary Widely Between Companies

Premiums for Long-Term Care Insurance vary dramatically, with some companies being costly. A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the major companies can find very affordable coverage. A specialist can provide you with accurate quotes from all the major insurance companies along with professional recommendations. 

You can find a qualified and trusted specialist by clicking here.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Prepare for the challenges that come with getting older. The costs and burdens of aging will change our lifestyles and create dependency on family members unless we prepare before we get older and experience significant health changes.

The cost of long-term health care is expensive. Long-Term Care Insurance safeguards your income and assets and reduces the stress and burdens otherwise placed on your loved ones. You avoid dependence on your family, in addition to protecting your income and assets, when you own an LTC Insurance policy. You will have access to your choice of quality care, including in-home care, which most people prefer.

Research Tools on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers many resources to learn about the available options and learn about long-term health care issues. Click here and discover these resources.  This comprehensive guide is an outstanding way to start your research -  The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide. Be sure to take notes so you can ask the appropriate questions when you speak with a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.

Marketing and Advertising on LTC NEWS

Readers of LTC NEWS are researching retirement issues, including aging, health, caregiving, and long-term care. Other readers seek information for a parent or other loved one who is experiencing declining health or aging issues and require extended care.  

There are many marketing opportunities available, including sponsored content articles. Sponsored content offers you a long-form way to sell yourself, your company, and your ideas.

LTC NEWS can be an affordable way to drive consumers to your website or business - or promote products and services.

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business - click here.

Write for LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers many resources to help families address the consequences of long-term care, aging, health, caregiving, and other retirement issues. You can be part of the effort to help educate consumers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Write a story for publication on LTC NEWS and let America hear what you have to say. Be sure your article fits the LTC NEWS target audience of adults 40-70.

Topics can include stories on:

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Email your story idea or article: or click here

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