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How much does a nursing home cost?

Nursing homes are expensive, but long-term care insurance can help defray the costs.  Getty Images

Whether it's someone to help with household tasks or an occupational therapist, many people will need help when they get older. In some cases, older people need to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility so that they can be surrounded by professional care at all times. 

One major issue for a lot of American families is that these facilities are prohibitively expensive. As such, it's important to know exactly how much a nursing home will cost — and what you can do now, when you're still working, to help defray those costs later in life.

Start shopping for a long-term care insurance policy online today

How much does a nursing home cost?

When considering how much a nursing home will cost, it's important to consider a few factors, like your location and whether you want to have a completely private room when you move into your new home.

Nursing home costs vary by state and type of service

The cost you'll pay for a room in a nursing home will vary greatly based on where you live and what type of service you want. According to Genworth's 2021 Cost of Care Study — the most recent numbers available — the national average for a private room in a nursing home was $108,405 per year. For a semi-private room, you'd pay $94,900 per year. If you don't need all the services of a nursing home but still want to live in a place where you can get help, the average annual cost of an assisted living facility was $54,000.

Let's look at a few examples to show how location matters. In New York State, the average cost of a private room was $158,797 per year in 2021. In Texas, it was $85,107, while in Arizona a year in a nursing home cost $96,360. 

This disparity also goes down to the municipal level. In the New York City area, the average cost of a year in a private nursing home room was $158,775, while in the Utica area it was $125,925 per year as of 2021.

Prepare for the costs of nursing homes by buying long-term care insurance now.

Long-term care insurance can help

Those numbers likely leave many people wondering how exactly they will pay for these services if they need them later in life, as Medicare generally won't cover nursing homes. Luckily, there is something you can do now to offset the costs of care later in your life: purchase a long-term care insurance policy.

Long-term care insurance works much like any other insurance policy. You enter a contract with an insurance company and make premium payments now in exchange for money later if you need it. With long-term care insurance, you get money to pay for long-term care services like nursing homes.

Exactly how much money you'll get for long-term care services will depend on the policy you choose. There are also many types of long-term care policies to choose from. For instance, you could pick a hybrid policy that combines long-term care insurance with life insurance. In this case, you would get benefits to pay for long-term care and a death benefit paid to your family on your death. This can be helpful if you are concerned that funeral and estate costs will be a burden for your family. 

Long-term care insurance can cover nursing homes and many other services, including adult day care services, respite care, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing care and occupational therapy. Some even allow you to pay family members who are helping to take care of you. 

The bottom line

Nursing homes, like most medical services in America, are expensive. Depending on where you live, you could end up paying more than $100,000 per year for nursing home care, which will be out of the price range for many people. There is something you can do right now, though, to prepare — find and purchase a long-term care insurance plan. Paying premiums now will give you money to use for long-term care later in life, potentially saving you much angst in your later years.

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