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Health Insurance Comparison Reveals the Most Expensive States for Assisted Living Posted: August 30th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Health Insurance Comparison Reveals the Most Expensive States for Assisted Living

Long term care costs continue to rise

Americans are living longer. Today's seniors are often healthy and active for years, and sometimes decades, after retiring. However, with this increase in life expectancy, comes the need for extended senior care services. Whether it is help with household chores or intensive care in a nursing home, it is likely that most seniors will need some form of assistance as they age. The Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey reveals that the cost of long term care isn't decreasing.

Long term care preferences

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly two-thirds of Americans older than age 65 may need living assistance. In addition, 40 percent of those currently receiving long term care services are between the ages of 18 and 64.

A separate Genworth survey conducted earlier in 2010, found that Americans overwhelmingly want to receive assistance at home should they ever need long term care. According to the survey's results, respondents identified the following as their ideal setting for assisted living care:

  • Home Help - 78 percent
  • Assisted Living - 18 percent
  • Nursing Home - 2 percent

The cost of long term care

Fortunately, the Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey offers encouraging news for those looking for long term care services at home. Although all long-term care options are increasing in cost, the price tag for home services is growing much more slowly than other assistance options.

The 2010 survey reveals the following annual increases in long term care:

  • Home Help - 1.7 percent
  • Assisted Living Facilities - 6.7 percent
  • Nursing Homes - 4.5 percent

Not only is the cost of home care rising more slowly than other forms of care, it also continues to be the most cost-efficient choice for seniors. While the median annual cost for nursing home care is an astounding $75,190, licensed home health agencies charge an average of $19 per hour for non-skilled services.

However, the cost of home care can vary by state. According to the Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey, the most expensive states for home health care are: Alaska, Rhode Island and Minnesota. Each of these states has a median cost of $25 per hour for home care from a state licensed agency. Long term care services received at home were least expensive in Alabama and West Virginia.

Quality care from a licensed home health worker in these states runs approximately $15 per hour. To find detailed statistics on costs in your state, you can review the detailed results of the Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey.