The effects of the pandemic are still being felt across assisted living, with operators showing a second consecutive downward trend in rates in some areas, according to the results of a new report.
The Lincoln Financial What Care Costs analysis released Wednesday found that assisted living rates now average more than $51,000 annually.
Assisted living operators nationwide in 2021 charged average monthly rates ranging from $4,299 for a studio apartment (compared with $4,162 in 2020) to $5,084 for a two-bedroom apartment (compared to $5,224 in 2020), with pricing varying greatly based on geographic location.
The most expensive states for assisted living were New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Hawaii, with prices for a one-bedroom unit ranging from $6,226 to $7,127 per month — compared with a national average monthly rate of $4,826. Those prices are down from 2020, when the most expensive one-bedroom apartment was $7,979 per month.
In comparison, states with the lowest average monthly rates for a one-bedroom assisted living unit were Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota and Louisiana. There, rates ranged from $3,493 to $3,732 per month. This amount compares with 2020’s lowest average monthly rates, ranging from $3,519 to $3,864.
For a studio apartment in assisted living, the most expensive state, based on the average rate, was New Jersey, at $6,367 per month (compared with Delaware, where the average rate was $6,793 per month in 2020). The least expensive state was Louisiana, at $3,032 per month (compared with Mississippi, the least expensive state in 2020, at $2,984 per month). The national average in 2021 was $4,299 per month, compared with $4,165 in 2020.
For a two-bedroom unit in assisted living, the most expensive state, based on average rate, was New Jersey, at $8,310 per month. New Jersey also had the most expensive rate in 2020 in this category, at $8,700 per month.
The least expensive state for assisted living was North Dakota, at $3,869 per month (compared with the state’s least expensive 2020 monthly rate, at $3,743). The national average of $5,084 per month compares with the 2020 national monthly average of $5,227.
The study examined the range of charges made and the average cost of long-term care services provided in assisted living communities, nursing homes, adult day centers and personal homes. Regional, state and national averages are included.