Long Term Care: What Does It Cost Today?

Long term care, the type of care generally provided to the elderly or infirm in nursing homes, through in-home health care or assisted living facilities, has steadily increased with the continued aging of the baby boomer generation. Recent figures released by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) indicate that the costs for long term care are following suit.

Average costs

Long term care costs vary depending on where you live, the type of services needed, how often those services are needed and when they are needed (night and weekend home visits are usually higher than weekdays). Below are the average costs reported by the AARP and the DHHS.

AARP. According to the AARP (www.aarp.org/), the average monthly costs for long term care are:

  • Private room in a nursing home - $6,266/month (the equivalent of $75,000/yr or $209/day)
  • Semi-private room in a nursing home - $5,566/month (the equivalent of $66,800/yr or $186/day)
  • Care in an assisted living unit - $2,968/month (the equivalent of $35,600/yr or $99/day)

DHHS: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (www.longtermcare.gov/), has reported that the monthly average costs of long term care for 2007 were:

  • Private room in a nursing home - $6,150/month (the equivalent of $73,800/yr or $205/day)
  • Semi-private room in a nursing home - $5,340/month (the equivalent of $ 64,100/yr or $181/day)
  • Care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit) - $2,714/month (the equivalent of $32,600/yr or $91/day)

In addition, the Department reported on the following average hourly/daily costs for other care in 2007:

  • Home Health Aide - $25/hr
  • Homemaker services - $17/hr
  • Care in an adult day health care center - $61/day

It's clear that most Americans could not afford to pay these costs without insurance. But, how do go about finding an insurance company who will do right by you?

Sound Advice

Finding a long term care insurance company who will do right by you can be a challenge – especially since many insurance companies often deny valid benefits. Bob Scott, an Attorney with the Advocate Law Group, provided the following sound advice to consumers about long term care insurance:

  • Consider a company's financial strength. Look at the ability of the insurance company to make premium increases. Look at the financial strength and integrity of the insurance company. There are significant differences between insurance companies that most people aren't aware of. Ratings are helpful in terms of financial stability of the insurance company at the particular time, but a rating is very much a snapshot rather than a predictor.

    There are a series of ratings from Best insurance reviews to Moody's to Weiss ratings. These ratings are something to consider, but the fact that an insurance company may look terrific today doesn't mean it will be down the road.
  • Beware of claim denials. Many companies are increasingly becoming far more restrictive than they would otherwise have been when it comes to claim payments. In many instances, they've been improperly denying claims they should have been paying.
  • Seek experienced counsel. If the insurance company denies long term care benefits, you'll definitely need a law firm that knows long tem care insurance operates, and can, if your claim is eligible, get you the benefits you are entitled to.

If you've been denied valid long term care benefits by your insurance company, contact a lawyer whose practice focuses on long term care.