America’s LTC costs continue rising trend, MetLife survey finds

Costs continue to rise for those requiring long-term care in the U.S., according to the newly released 2011 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. (Download the full survey results here.)

National average rates for a private nursing home room increased 4.4 percent to $239 daily or $87,235 annually, in 2011. Assisted living base rates rose by 5.6 percent to $3,477 monthly or $41,724 annually. Adult day services went up by 4.5 percent to $70 per day. Home health aides and homemaker/companion service rates were unchanged at $21 and $19 per hour, respectively.

“This year’s increases are greater than previous years,” said Sandra Timmermann, EdD, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “The state of the economy, combined with rising healthcare and energy costs, are having a significant impact on long-term care rates.

“In fact, long-term care rates continue to outpace the medical inflation rate. The result is dramatic protracted inflation that will impact consumers.”

The highest average daily rates for nursing homes continue to be in Alaska, where rates decreased slightly to $655 for a private room compared to $687 in 2010. Costs were lowest in Louisiana, outside the Baton Rouge and Shreveport Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), at an average of $141 per day for a private room.

For assisted living, the Washington, D.C. area had the highest average monthly base rate at $5,757, a 10 percent increase from last year. Arkansas, outside of the Little Rock MSA, had the lowest average monthly rate of $2,156, also an increase.

Other findings of the MetLife survey include:

Ten percent of nursing homes surveyed provide adult day services

The majority (87 percent) of nursing homes surveyed provide Alzheimer’s or dementia care; of those, 80 percent charge the same rate for care

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of assisted living communities surveyed provide Alzheimer’s and dementia care, half of which charge an additional fee for the service

The MetLife survey of 2,003 nursing homes, 1,492 assisted living communities, 1,644 home care agencies and 1,341 adult day services, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, was conducted by telephone between April and August 2011, by LifePlans, Inc., for the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

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