The average cost for nursing home care in the U.S. increased significantly in 2006, according to the results of a study by New York Life Insurance Co.’s long-term care division. Costs for both private and semiprivate care were 6 percent higher than in 2005. The average cost of a private room with a single occupant was $204 a day, or $74,445 a year. Nonprivate rooms, based on double occupancy, increased to an average of $180 a day, or $65,700 a year. Nationwide, the average private room rate increased by $11 a day, or $4,015 per year. The average semiprivate room rate rose by $10 a day, or $3,650 per year. The survey was conducted by New York Life Insurance Co. It included more than 2,300 nursing homes in the U.S.
As the average life expectancy increases, due in part to medical advancements and improved health care, the demand for nursing home beds will likely intensify. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a healthy couple in their mid-60s has a 50 percent chance that one spouse will live beyond his or her 91st birthday.
Many people assume Medicare will pay for these nursing home residences, but the truth is the portion Medicare covers is quite small. Baby boomers and others must begin to prepare now for the possibility that they may require these facilities at some point in their lives.