Nursing Homes Still have Vital Role in Long-Term Care

When people think long-term care many think about nursing homes. While most long-term care is provided outside a nursing home, these facilities are costly. Advance planning is essential.

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Nursing Homes Still have Vital Role in Long-Term Care
3 Min Read September 12th, 2017

According to available data, most Long-Term Care is delivered at home. Often it is family members, daughters or daughters-in-law, that end up with that responsibility. In 2014, the last reporting year, there were 12,400 home health care agencies with over $75 billion dollars in revenue. This doesn’t account of the value of care provided by family members.

There are more than 36,000 assisted living facilities all over the United States. Plus, 5,000 adult day centers were operating in the United States, providing care for more than 260,000 elderly Americans each day.

All of this is long-term care that is not in a nursing home. The perception is people end up requiring long-term care in nursing homes. However, with available care at home, adult daycare and assisted living, more people can avoid a nursing home.

Over 1.3 million Americans reside in nursing homes according to the director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI).  The majority were aged 65 and older. The cost of this care is very expensive.

The Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey shows the national average cost of a private skilled nursing home is $7698 a month. Some areas of the country this cost can be much higher. Compare this to the national average of an assisted living facility which runs $3628 a month or $3861 a month (based on a 44-hour week of care) at home.

"While most individuals today purchase long-term care insurance as a way to remain in their own home for as long as possible, it's still vital to understand what's taking place in the nation's nursing homes," states Jesse Slome, director of the AALTCI.

The AALTCI is a national consumer education and advocacy group which helps both consumers and insurance industry professionals with education on long-term care planning.

Slome, shared this information with senior-level insurance professionals as reported in the recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

According to the latest analysis of nursing home users in 2014, some 41.6 percent of nursing home residents were age 85 and older, Slome shared.  Another 27.2 percent were between ages 75 and 84 and 16.1 percent were between 65 and 74. 

"The balance (15.1 percent) were under 65 Slome noted typically the result of accidents, illnesses or lifelong conditions," he added. 

Slome noted that 66.8 percent of nursing home residents, according to the data, are women. 

"Long-term care is a real issue facing American women both in terms of need and because they so often are the caregivers for an aged spouse or an aging parent," Slome declared.  "Every American today needs to have some long-term care plan in place with or without long-term care insurance."

Long-Term Care insurance has become a big part of retirement planning.

"Long-Term care insurance not only benefits families because it gives added options and, of course, funds to pay for needed care, it also benefits taxpayers.  Slome acknowledged that Medicaid paid nearly one-third (62.9 percent) of nursing home costs.

Medicaid is the primary payer for institutional and community-based long-term services and supports. Medicaid, the nation’s main public health insurance program for people with low income, is administered by states within broad federal rules and financed jointly by states and the federal government.

Slome noted that Alzheimer's disease or other dementias was the leading cause for a nursing home stay.  Over half (50.4 percent) of residents had that diagnosis according to Slome.  Depression and diabetes were two other leading diagnosis.

Federal tax incentives are available for some people to help encourage the purchase of these policies. In addition, several states also have tax incentives. Most states also participate in the federal/state long-term care partnership program. This provides additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection. You can click here to find the cost of care, tax incentives and other information available in your state:

Many experts suggest adding long-term care insurance to your retirement plan before you retire.

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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

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