What Long-Term Care Costs Now

The national median rate for a private room in a nursing home rose more than 4% last year, to $240 per day.

How much does care in a nursing home cost? Does home care cost less?

Long-term-care insurer Genworth just came out with its annual cost of care study, which found that the national median rate for a private room in a nursing home is $240 per day ($87,600 per year). That’s a 4.35% increase over 2013. But the cost varies a lot by location. For example, it’s $91,615 per year in Florida and $104,025 in California, but $65,700 in Texas and $59,860 in Missouri. If you’re estimating costs for your future – or looking for care for a parent –compare costs for all the cities where you (or your parent) would consider living. See Genworth's interactive map to compare costs across the country.

Home care costs more per hour than a nursing home, but if you don’t need round-the-clock care, it could cost less overall. The national median rate for a home-health aide is $20 per hour, which is a 1.59% increase from last year. If you needed, say, 44 hours of care per week, the median cost would be more than $45,000 per year. Assisted living has a median cost of $3,500 per month ($42,000 per year), which is a 1.45% increase over last year, according to Genworth.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Long-term-care insurance can cover all of these types of care, but the policies have been getting a lot more expensive. Many people now buy policies that fill in the gap between the estimated cost of care (a typical long-term-care claim is about three years) and the amount they can afford to pay out of savings. For more information about calculating how much coverage to get and which policy features to choose, see Options for Covering Long-Term-Care Costs. Also see our Long-Term-Care Special Report.

For help finding a nursing home or assisted living facility, see Choose the Right Long-Term-Care Facility for Your Parents.

Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.