Genworth: Acuity, luxury drive up assisted living costs 3.36% in 2017

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Noreen Guanci
Noreen Guanci

The annual median cost of assisted living increased 3.36% from 2016 to 2017, according to the Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey released Tuesday.

National median costs for assisted living rose to $45,000 per year, $123 per day or $3,750 per month. Compared with 2012, Genworth said, annual median costs have gone up 13.64%. Compared with annual media costs since the survey's inception in 2004, annual median costs for assisted living have increased 56.25%. The five-year compound annual growth rate is 2.59%.

“Increased labor costs are affecting long-term care costs across all care settings, but we are seeing two unique contributing factors to the increase in ALF costs,” Noreen Guanci, co-founder and CEO of Long Term Solutions, told McKnight's Senior Living. “The first is that ALFs are accepting higher-acuity residents, necessitating an increase in costs to accommodate those residents with greater care needs. The second is demanding private payers, who are requiring ever more luxurious accommodations and amenities.”

Long Term Solutions provides care coordination services and nurse assessments for Genworth's long-term care insurance claimants. 

Overall, Genworth said, the annual median cost of long-term care services — including private and semi-private nursing home rooms, adult day care, and home care home health aides and home makers in addition to assisted living — increased an average of 4.5% from 2016 to 2017. The time span saw the second-highest year-over-year increase for nursing homes and home care since the study began in 2004 and nearly three times the 1.7 % U.S. rate of inflation, Genworth said.

Although the national median cost of receiving care rose considerably across all care options during the last 12 months, the increase was most pronounced for home health aides, where costs were up 6.17% to $21.50 per hour.

In a companion consumer sentiment survey conducted in conjunction with the 2017 Cost of Care Survey, two-thirds of respondents said they expect government programs to cover all or part of their long-term care costs.

“Our hope is that people will take the first step by checking out our Cost of Care website or app to start the conversation about planning for their own long-term care needs,” said David O'Leary, president and CEO of Genworth's US Life Division. Genworth also has a Cost of Care App from iTunes.

The survey covers more than 47,000 long-term care providers nationwide and also provides state-specific cost-of-care data for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and comparison to the national median.

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