BY: Laura Santhanam and Megan Hickey (PBS) with added information from Linda Maxwell (LTC News)
It is not surprising that long-term care can be expensive, but the cost differences based on location, level of care and comfort are staggering, according to recent reports.
The Genworth Cost of Care Survey explored the price of long-term care, breaking it out by private or semi-private room in a nursing home, home health aide, homemaker services, assisted living facility and adult day health care. The data further drilled down into differences by state.
For example, the national median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home was $91,250. However, in Alaska, that same service cost a recipient $281,415, among the highest in the nation. By comparison, in Oklahoma, someone who wanted the same long-term care option would only need to pay a median cost of $60,225, or about one-fifth as much as in Alaska.
Cost of Care is Increasing Year After Year
These are 2014 costs. Just four years later the costs of long-term health care have increased. The LTC News cost of care calculator shows the national average cost of a skilled nursing home private room is now $103,386. True, most long-term care is delivered either at home or in assisted living facilities. These costs are less expensive ... but still not cheap!
The national average for an assisted living facility (base cost) now runs $49,440. Care at home, based on a 44-hour week now averages $51,846 a year.
The cost varies depending on where you live. Find the cost of care in your area by clicking here.
Advance Planning is Key to a Successful Future Retirement
Planning experts suggest that if you have assets to protect, Long-Term Care Insurance should be part of your retirement plan. The cost of care, especially care in one’s home or assisted living, which most people need as opposed to a nursing home, needs to be factored in the benefit structure of any policy a consumer may purchase.
Jesse Slome, the executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), a national consumer advocacy group, says there are a number of 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."Jesse Slome, the executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI)
A Qualified Long-Term Care Specialist Can Design an Affordable Plan
Designing a plan that makes a catastrophic situational manageable based on where you live, the average costs of care and other factors like how you will finance your future retirement will be part of how a specialist designs a plan according to experts. This is why the AALTCI suggests working with a real specialist in this area.
Experts indicate that some insurance agents and financial advisors recommend benefits that are much more than what is required to plan for this risk. You can learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance at www.aaLTCi.org
Get help when you plan for long-term care from a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. They should represent multiple insurance companies, understand how the Long-Term Care Partnership Program works, and have extensive claims experience. A qualified specialist will know how to design a very affordable plan which matches your age, health, finances, and goals. Find a qualified specialist by clicking here.