Long-Term Care Costs Vary Greatly By State and Type

The consequences of aging are hard to ignore. Many people are now planning for long-term health care as part of retirement planning. Yet, while they may be buying LTC Insurance, they often fail to consider the increasing cost of care, which can vary depending on where one lives.

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Long-Term Care Costs Vary Greatly By State and Type
3 Min Read July 15th, 2015 Updated:February 5th, 2024

The looming crisis of rising long-term care costs is casting a long shadow over the financial well-being of millions of Americans as the need for such care continues to surge. 


As we age, the demand for assistance with daily activities and supervision due to dementia rises, but the financial strain this places on individuals and families is a harsh reality that cannot be ignored. What compounds this issue is the stark disparity in costs, depending on where you live in the United States. 


Long-term care expenses vary dramatically from one region to another, leaving families grappling not only with the emotional toll of caregiving but also with the daunting prospect of depleting their savings at an alarming rate.


Amid this growing dilemma, the soaring costs of long-term care are no longer a distant concern but an immediate threat to the financial stability of households nationwide. With a rapidly aging population and an ever-increasing need for care services, understanding the critical implications of these mounting costs and regional disparities is paramount for anyone planning for their own future or the care of their loved ones. 


Planning is Critical


Planning for long-term care is no easy feat. The staggering costs, regional variations, and changing needs can leave families feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. However, with careful planning and utilizing available resources, navigating this complex landscape becomes more manageable.


Recent cost-of-care surveys paint a stark picture: long-term care is not cheap, and prices vary considerably. According to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, the nationwide median cost of in-home care, based on a 44-hour week, is now $58,629 annually ($4,926 per month.)


The national median average base cost of assisted living is $52,082, but surcharges will add up to $2000 a month on top of that cost. Nursing homes are very expensive. The national median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is a staggering $111,121 ($9,338 per month.)


However, location plays a significant role, with costs skyrocketing to $$316,746 for a nursing home in Alaska and plummeting to $74,058 in Oklahoma. While generally less expensive, assisted living and home care come with substantial price tags in many locations.


The problem with long-term care is it is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. Without planning, you can adversely impact your family and finances.


Jesse Slome, the executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national consumer advocacy group, says there are several ways to save on policies.


Today's Long-Term Care insurance policy is quite different from the coverage offered a decade ago. Insurers today offer a number of features and options that are not just extremely beneficial to consumers but can significantly reduce the cost.


Beyond National Averages


Remember, national averages offer just a glimpse. Costs fluctuate within states, influenced by factors like urban versus rural settings and specific care facility amenities. Tools like the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator provide valuable starting points, but in-depth research into local options and personalized cost estimates are crucial.


Experts predict a steady rise in long-term care costs due to factors like increased demand, inflation, and rising labor costs. This underscores the importance of proactive planning, as waiting can significantly impact both financial and familial well-being.


Finding quality care is not easy. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory offers valuable assistance by allowing you to explore a database of over 80,000 care providers. This free, comprehensive national directory encompasses a wide range of long-term care services, simplifying finding qualified caregivers or suitable care facilities. You can easily search for providers in your area or your loved one's area while gaining insights into their qualifications and the services they offer. You can compare the types of care, search options, and review costs.



LTC Insurance as a Safety Net


Long-Term Care Insurance emerges as an affordable solution for many, offering financial protection against future care expenses. While traditionally associated with nursing homes, modern policies cover a wider range of care settings, including home care and assisted living – where most individuals receive care.

Many people think of Long-Term Care Insurance as nursing home insurance. In fact, most LTC Insurance claims are for in-home care and assisted living.

A 2022 study published in the journal Health Affairs found that in 2018, 62% of LTC Insurance claims paid for home care, while 21% went towards assisted living and 17% towards nursing home care. This suggests home care is a significant and growing utilization of LTC Insurance benefits.

The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) reports that around 70% of individuals receiving LTC Insurance benefits use them for home and community-based services, which include home care, adult day care, and assisted living.

Industry experts highlight a trend of increased demand for home care fueled by factors like advances in telehealth technology, growing preference for aging in place, and concerns about nursing home costs and quality of care.


Customization is Key


LTC Insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all. Factors like age, health status, desired level of coverage, and budget influence premiums and policy structure. Premiums vary dramatically between insurance companies, according to a survey done by LTC NEWS.


Long-Term Care Insurance Cost: Factors, Considerations and Price Ranges


Consulting a qualified specialist with experience across multiple top-rated insurance companies helps you navigate options and design a plan tailored to your age, health, and other factors. Remember that each insurance company has its own underwriting rules and price structure. However, all tax-qualified LTC Insurance policies must meet federal guidelines, so they all include regulated benefit triggers, consumer protections, and tax incentives.


What Are Long-Term Care Insurance Regulations? How Do They Protect Policyholders?


Beyond Dollars and Cents


Financial security is undoubtedly crucial, but when we talk about the challenges of long-term care, we mustn't overlook the profound emotional and familial toll it can exact. Beyond the protection of assets that an LTC policy provides, it offers something equally precious: peace of mind. 


This peace of mind not only safeguards your financial future but also spares your loved ones from the immense burden of caregiving responsibilities. It grants them the precious gift of being able to focus on being family, especially during the most demanding moments when they often have no other choice but to juggle their jobs and family obligations with caregiving duties.


Caring for a loved one in need of long-term care is a responsibility that countless family members undertake out of unwavering love and dedication. However, the reality is that this role can come at a significant personal cost. Many caregivers find themselves navigating the delicate balance between their careers and caregiving duties, often feeling stretched to their limits. They shoulder the emotional strain of witnessing their loved one's health decline while striving to meet the demands of their jobs and maintain a semblance of normalcy within their households. 


This juggling act can take a profound toll on their well-being, both physically and mentally. In this context, Long-Term Care Insurance isn't just about financial protection; it's about preserving the quality of life for both you and your family, ensuring that when caregiving becomes a necessity, it doesn't come at the expense of your family's emotional and mental health.


Starting Early, Reaping Benefits


Premiums are generally lower when you're younger and healthier. Don't wait until later in life when options may be limited or more expensive. Remember, aging is inevitable, but planning for its potential challenges empowers you to face them with greater clarity and control.


Most people obtain LTC Insurance coverage in their 40s or 50s, yet if you have fairly good health, you can find affordable options in your 60s and older. 


By understanding the evolving landscape of long-term care costs, exploring insurance options, and seeking professional guidance, you can confidently navigate this critical planning stage, ensuring a more secure and dignified future for yourself and your loved ones.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Despite what you might think, Long-Term Care Insurance is very affordable. These policies are custom designed. Premiums can vary over 100% between companies for the exact same coverage. This is why you seek the assistance of a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist.

·        How Does Long-Term Care Insurance Differ From Other Types Of Insurance?

The cost of long-term health care is rapidly increasing. Medical science allows us to live longer, but that also increases the need for help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia.

Medicare and health insurance pay little or nothing toward the cost of long-term health care. The financial repercussions may alter your way of life and legacy. It's important to consider how the costs and burdens of aging will affect your family.

Family caregivers are ill-equipped and unprepared for the job as your future caregiver. You probably don't want to make your adult children and their families bear the burden of being your future caregiver. Long-Term Care Insurance is an affordable solution for many families.

·        How To Apply For Long-Term Care Insurance

Professional care is expensive, be it in-home care or in a long-term care facility. Therefore being prepared is vital to any retirement plan. The ideal time to add an LTC policy to your comprehensive retirement plan is in your 40s or 50s, but you can find affordable options in your 60s and beyond, depending on your health.

Locate a Reliable and Experienced LTC Expert

Engaging with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can significantly streamline the process for you. These specialists possess in-depth knowledge of all the top-rated insurance companies, enabling them to tailor recommendations specifically to your unique needs. They understand how age and health can influence policy options and costs, and they're adept at finding affordable and comprehensive coverage that aligns with your situation.


By consulting a specialist, you're not just accessing their expertise in Long-Term Care Insurance; you're also benefiting from their insights into industry trends and ability to anticipate how changes might affect you. They can guide you through the intricacies of different policies, clarify terms and conditions, and help you understand the benefits and limitations of each option.

An LTC Specialist will provide accurate quotes from all the top companies. 

This personalized approach not only saves you time but also ensures that you make informed decisions.

·        Work With a Qualified LTC Insurance Specialist

Finding Quality LTC Services Has Never Been Easier

Don't allow the search for high-quality long-term care services for your loved one to add unnecessary stress to your life.

The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory offers valuable assistance by allowing you to explore a database of over 80,000 care providers. This free, comprehensive national directory encompasses a wide range of long-term care services, simplifying finding qualified caregivers or suitable care facilities. You can easily search for providers in your area or your loved one's area while gaining insights into their qualifications and the services they offer.

Note, if you are a long-term care service provider, you can claim your free listing and even upgrade your listing - LTC News Directory Business Portal.

If you have an LTC policy, LTC NEWS is here to assist you with the claims process for any Long-Term Care Insurance policy. In collaboration with Amada Senior Care, a nationally renowned in-home health care agency, we are dedicated to ensuring that both you and your loved ones receive the high-quality care you need and deserve. It's important to note that this service is provided to you at no cost or obligation when filing a Long-Term Care Insurance claim - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term services for a loved one:

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