Health insurance rates are rising all over, but none are rising more than those for long-term care. Projected costs in 2011 are set to rise by about 5%, and they will continue to rise through the rest of this decade. What can you do to keep your options open down the road? You can buy some low-cost LTC insurance now, for starters.
We've written before about how to make LTC insurance work for you and now is a great time to take advantage of low rates to prevent incurring higher insurance costs down the road.
The hard data on that issue comes from MetLife (Stock Quote: MET), which comes out with an annual “check-up" on the costs of long-term health care. Its most recent edition paints a grim picture for Americans, especially those 77 million Baby Boomers either in retirement or inching their way toward their golden years.
Nursing home and assisted living care is getting shockingly expensive and may incite sticker shock on even the most thick-skinned consumers.
According to MetLife’s Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs:
- Private room nursing home rates rose 4.6% from 2009 to 2010 to a whopping $229 per day, or $83,585 per year.
- Assisted living costs spiked 5.2% to $3,293 per month, or about $39,000 annually.
- Both costs are accelerating at a faster pace than from 2008 to 2009, when growth rates averaged 3.3% for nursing home and assisted-living care.
- The per-hour cost of a home health aid stayed pretty much the same as 2009 – at $21 per hour.
- Adult day care services also remained static, at $67 per day.
As the report notes, the growth rate for long-term care significantly outpaces the current rate of inflation, which is 3%.
How much you pay for long-term care, however, also depends on where you hang your hat. Alaskans, for example, pay the most for a private nursing home room, $687 per day. Conversely, if you live in Louisiana, that cost can run as low as $138 per day.