Elder care cost is a concern. Sometimes seniors think that medicare will cover housing costs, but that’s just not true these days. Oftentimes, life-savings are used to front the bill. Read on below for general care cost estimates according to the latest report released.
The steep cost of caring for the elderly continues to climb. The median bill for a private room in a nursing home is now $91,250 a year, according to an industry survey out Thursday.
The annual “Cost of Care” report from Genworth Financial (GNW) tracks the staggering rise in expenses for long-term care, a growing financial burden for families, governments and insurers like Genworth. The cost of staying in a nursing home has increased 4 percent every year over the last five years, the report says. Last year, the median bill was $87,600.
“Most people don’t realize how expensive this care can be until a parent or family member needs it,” said Joe Caldwell, director of long-term services at the National Council on Aging. “And then it’s a real shock.”
The annual report from Genworth, which sells policies to cover long-term care, looks at costs for a variety of services, including adult daycare, and home health aides. And nursing home bills are rising at the fastest pace, twice the rate of U.S. inflation over the last five years. One year in a nursing home now costs nearly as much as three years of tuition at a private college.
For its report, Genworth surveyed 15,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other providers across the country in January and February. It found wide differences from state to state. In Oklahoma, for instance, the median cost for a year in a nursing home came out to $60,225. In Connecticut, it was $158,775. Alaska had the highest costs by far, with one year at $281,415.
So, who pays the nursing-home bill? “A lot of people believe Medicare will step in and cover them, but that’s just not true,” said Bruce Chernoff, president and CEO of The Scan Foundation, a charitable organization. Medicare will cover some short visits for recovery after a surgery, for instance, but not long-term stays.
Often enough, experts say senior citizens wind up spending their savings until they hit their last $2,000, and at that point they can turn to Medicaid, the government’s health insurance for the poor, to help cover the bill. As a result, Medicaid pays for more than half of the country’s long-term care bill. That cost accounts for more than a quarter of Medicaid spending, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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