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How Much Do Nursing Homes Cost in the U.S.?

Merritt Whitley
By Merritt WhitleySeptember 19, 2020
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 a hospital. This cost of this high level of care varies from state to state and facility to facility, resulting in prices for nursing homes ranging from about $5,000 to $14,000 a month, according to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care survey.

“The cost depends on various factors that the family generally cannot 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 the most affordable and expensive states for nursing home costs, what’s included in the price, and why costs may fluctuate.

What is the average cost of a nursing home?

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 2019, the median yearly cost of a nursing home was $90,155 for a semi-private room and $102,200 for a private room. The monthly median rate was $7,513 for a semi-private room and $8,517 for a private room.

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The cost for a semi-private room increased almost 1% over the previous year. The rate for a private room rose nearly 2%. With about 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day until 2030, nursing home costs are expected to rise.

Why are nursing home costs so high?

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 senior living. 

Additional services include 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 vary 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 nursing home costs compared to Kansas or Arkansas.

Unlike senior living communities, nursing home prices generally don’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 nursing home costs.

Highest monthly nursing home costs by state:

StateSemi-Private RoomPrivate Room1.Alaska$30,219$30,2192.Connecticut$12,699$13,9163.Hawaii$11,650$13,3684.Massachusetts$12,473$13,2125.New York$11,613$12,3496.North Dakota$11,875$11,9867.New Jersey$10,646$11,6508.West Virginia$10,707$11,5289.Delaware$10,897$11,36110.Vermont$10,722$11,285
Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2019

10 least expensive states for nursing home costs

The Midwest and Southern states tend to have lower costs for nursing home care.

Lowest monthly nursing home costs by state:

StateSemi-Private RoomPrivate Room1.Oklahoma$4,867$5,6272.Louisiana$5,435$5,6763.Missouri$5,061$5,6884.Arkansas$5,505$6,0835.Kansas$5,627$6,1756.Alabama$6,388$6,7837.Iowa$6,342$6,8788.Illinois$5,931$6,8449.Mississippi$6,844$7,08710.Georgia$6,684$7,148
Genworth Cost of Care Survey, 2019

Sources:

Genworth. “Cost of Care Survey, 2019.” 
https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

National Center for Health Statistics. “National Nursing Home Survey.” https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nnhs/new_nnhs.htm

Merritt Whitley
Author
Merritt Whitley

Merritt Whitely is an editor at A Place for Mom. She developed health content for seniors at Hearing Charities of America and the National Hearing Aid Project. She’s also managed multiple print publications, blogs, and social media channels for seniors as the marketing manager at Sertoma, Inc.

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