The cost of long-term care is a mystery to many Americans. They hear the cost is high, and occasionally they hear quotes of national averages of the cost. But that does not help an individual plan for the cost or decide whether to buy long-term care insurance or how much to buy.
A valuable tool that becomes better each year is the Genworth Financial annual Cost of Care Survey.
The 2009 version has its own interactive web site. The site shows the cost of long-term care not only by state but by different regions and cities within the state. You can compare the costs of nursing home care (private and semi-private rooms), assisted living, adult day health care, and home care. The survey also shows the five-year annual growth rate for each of these categories.
The site also has a couple of valuable calculators. One allows you to estimate the future cost of care. You pick a location or region and estimate how long it will be before you need long-term care. The calculator estimates the annual cost of the different levels of care in that year, if costs continue to grow at the recent five-year rate.
You also can compare on one screen the cost of care, both now and in some future year, in up to four different regions.
You also can download the full Cost of Care Survey (170 pages), a summary of the survey, a summary of costs in your state, and maps showing the median annual rates for each type of care in each state. Another tool is the Choice and Affordability Index. For each state, this chart shows the median daily rate and where the state ranks in affordability and choice (number of facilities compared to population age 65 and over).
The Genworth site can help estimate how much you might spend on long-term care under different scenarios. If you are thinking of moving and want to know the implications for your budget, take a look at the web site. You might be surprised at the cost or availability of long-term care in the areas you are considering. Or if you are considering the purchase of a long-term care policy, the survey can help you decide how much coverage to buy. The Genworth survey is the next best step to contacting individual facilities in an area and asking their rates and the five-year change in those rates. The site is found quickly from the home page www.genworth.com.