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A Guide to Nursing Home Costs

Merritt Whitley
By Merritt WhitleyMarch 30, 2021
Elderly couple sitting at the kitchen island struggling to understand the various costs of nursing homes.

Nursing homes offer more supervision and care than assisted living communities, but less than hospitals. The cost of this high-level care varies from state to state and facility to facility, resulting in nursing home monthly costs ranging from about $5,080 to about $37,413, according to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care survey.

“The cost depends on various factors that the family generally can’t control, such as the state, location, and needs of the residents,” says Michael Leitson, senior data manager at the American Health Care Association, a federation of 50 state health organizations representing more than 12,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Learn more about nursing home costs by state, what’s included in the cost of nursing home care, and what average nursing home cost to expect.

How much does a nursing home cost?

As part of their annual report, Genworth calculated the national median costs of nursing homes in the U.S — median meaning half the prices are higher and half are lower. In 2020, the median yearly cost of nursing home care was $93,075 for a semi-private room and $105,850 for a private room. The median nursing home monthly cost was $7,756 for a semi-private room and $8,821 for a private room.

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The nursing home monthly cost for a semi-private room increased 3% year-over-year since 2019. The rate for a private room rose 3%, as well. With about 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day until 2030, nursing home costs are expected to continue to rise. It can be difficult to afford nursing home costs, but seniors can use VA benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, bridge loans, and long-term care insurance to assist with monthly nursing home costs.

What’s included in the cost of nursing home care?

The cost of nursing home care is nearly twice the cost of assisted living. Nursing home residents typically have a variety of chronic medical needs and require help with several daily activities, such as bathing and toileting. “The number one reason that nursing homes are so expensive is because they require a lot of nurses and staff members to care for residents,” says Leitson. 

Nursing home residents receive 24-hour care and medical supervision from licensed medical professionals. Nursing home services include skilled nursing care, such as wound care, injections, catheter care, and dialysis. These are not commonly offered in independent or assisted living communities. 

Additional services include medication management, meals, housekeeping, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLS). Typically, nursing home residents need more help with more ADLs than assisted living residents: In the most recent government survey on nursing homes, more than half the residents needed assistance with five ADLs — bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and eating.

Nursing home costs by state

Nursing home costs vary greatly across the country the same way cost of living, salaries, and taxes do. Generally speaking, states with a higher cost of living, such as Hawaii or New York, typically have higher average nursing home costs compared to states with a lower cost of living, like Kansas or Arkansas.

Unlike senior living communities, the cost of nursing home care generally doesn’t change based on the time of year or occupancy, says Leitson. 

10 most expensive states for nursing home costs

If you live on the East Coast or in Hawaii or Alaska, you’ll notice a significant increase in average nursing home costs per month.

State

Semi-Private Room

Private Room

Alaska

$36,378

$37,413

Connecticut

$12,927

$13,992

Hawaii

$12,015

$13,802

Massachusetts

$12,623

$13,535

Delaware

$12,349

$12,669

North Dakota

$12,167

$12,764

New York

$11,771

$12,927

West Virginia

$11,376

$12,136

New Jersey

$11,254

$11,863

Vermont

$9,779

$10,311

10 least expensive states for nursing home costs

The Midwest and Southern states tend to have lower average nursing home monthly costs.

State

Semi-Private Room

Private Room

Missouri

$5,080

$5,749

Oklahoma

$5,323

$5,779

Louisiana

$5,536

$5,840

Arkansas

$5,931

$6,540

Alabama

$6,540

$6,991

Kansas

$6,692

$7,026

Illinois

$6,235

$7,026

Iowa

$6,570

$7,148

Mississippi

$7,057

$7,148

Georgia

$6,772

$7,173

Merritt Whitley
Author
Merritt Whitley

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