New Data Shows Length of Nursing Home Use. Data Can Be Used for Planning.

Most long-term health care is delivered at home, but nursing homes costs are very high and devastating. New data from California shows how costly care can be.

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New Data Shows Length of Nursing Home Use. Data Can Be Used for Planning.
4 Min Read November 4th, 2021

Most long-term health care is delivered at home or in assisted living facilities, but the need for a nursing home can still be financially devastating for American families.

New data released by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) shows the length of Long-Term Care Insurance claims for nursing homes in California. The data helps define an often-asked question - how long will I need long-term health care?

"Most people will need long-term care as a result of living a long life, into their 80s, 90s, and beyond," said Jesse Slome, director of the AALTCI, a national consumer education and advocacy group.  

According to the data, someone between age 80 and 95 has a 46.5% likelihood of needing care for between 1 and 12 months. 

"Some 24% will need care for between 13 and 24 months, and 29.4% percent will need care for 25 months or longer," said Slome.

Length of Claim - Nursing Home Residents Table

Nursing Home Use for Those with Substantial Needs

Today nursing home use is often used when a person needs some skilled services in addition to custodial care - or a person with substantial needs or severe cognitive impairment. 

Most Long-Term Care Insurance claims start with in-home care. Still, policies typically are comprehensive and pay for levels and types of care, including nursing homes and memory care facilities. 

Care Costs are Rising Fast

The cost of all long-term health care services is increasing dramatically due to increasing demand and higher labor costs. However, nursing homes are the most expensive.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows the current state average cost of a nursing home in California $135,576 a year - or $11,298 a month. These costs vary throughout the state, as well as nationally. For example, the average nursing home cost in Bakersfield is $10,594 a month California Long-Term Care Resources | LTC News. In-home care, adult day care centers, and assisted living facilities will be less expensive, although by no means' cheap.'

Compare Bakersfield, California, with Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where an average nursing home runs $6,301 a month. But understand the costs are rising rapidly nationwide, and planning is essential for asset protection no matter if you end up in a nursing home or need care at home or in assisted living.

Risk of Needing Care Increases with Age

The risk of needing long-term care increases with age, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says if you reach age 65, it is about a 50/50 risk. What is unknown is when you may need care and for how long.

"There's no way to predict what an individual man or woman will need," Slome admits. "But after years talking to consumers and professionals, here's what I do know for sure; some Long-Term Care Insurance is always going to be better than none. It will give you and your family more options when you want and need them most."

Plan for LTC Costs Before Retirement

Experts suggest obtaining coverage before you retire, and most people purchase a policy in their 50s. Long-Term Care Insurance is custom-designed, and premiums are based on the amount of benefits you apply for and your age, health, family history, and other factors. 

LTC Insurance, however, is about money and not about time. There are no real 'benefit periods,' just a benefit account, which can grow with inflation - What is a Benefit Period on a LTC Insurance Policy? | LTC News.

"You have benefits as long as there are dollars remaining, so it's not a specific time frame of when benefits end. Secondly, most people have other income and assets that they can use to pay some of the cost of care with insurance also paying some," Slome explained.

More Than Just About Money

Long-term care costs can be financially crushing. However, long-term care planning is more than just about money. Most people who purchase Long-Term Care Insurance want to do more than just protect assets. According to surveys, consumers want to reduce the burdens otherwise placed on adult children. Consumers are also concerned about access to their choice of care services, especially access to in-home care.

Seek the assistance of an experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who works with the top companies. They can help you shop and find the most affordable coverage based on your age and health.

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About the Author

Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can provide the guaranteed tax-free benefits that will give you access to your choice of quality care options, including care at home. 

The ideal time to obtain coverage is in your 40s or 50s. Several types of policies, including traditional/partnership, certified policies, hybrid policies with death benefits, and limited duration, short-term plans are available.

Resources on LTC NEWS

Many tools and resources are available on LTC NEWS to help you learn about your options to plan for aging's financial costs and burdens. The goal is to prepare your family and finances for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging.

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. 

There are also available tax incentives, and see if these tax incentives are helpful by reviewing the Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now. 

You can ask questions to LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show 62 Who Knew in the LTC NEWS feature "Ask Mike." His expertise in caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages can be a valuable resource - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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