Nursing home care includes a skilled nursing staff that can provide medical treatment. It’s a common way for many people get the care they need.

About 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care. Knowing the prices of nursing home care is an important step in decision-making and financial planning.

Average Nursing Home Costs

The median annual cost of nursing home care in the United States is $80,300 for a semi-private room and $91,250 for a private room. That means the average cost per day is around $220 or $250, depending on the type of room.

Type of RoomMedian Annual CostMedian Cost Per Day
Private room$91,250$250
Semi-private room$80,300$220

Per-day rates can vary depending on location and services offered. Some are as low as $90 a day, while some go as high as $1,255. Nursing home rates have increased by 4 percent from 2010 to 2015.

Nursing Home Costs Vary by State

Nursing home costs vary by state, and they depend on the type of care and housing a person wants. For example, whether a person chooses a private or semi-private room.

Virginia is closest to the national median at $92,688 annually for a private room and $80,483 for a semi-private room.

Alaska’s prices are the highest at $281,415 annually for either semi-private or private rooms. Then again, Alaska is the most expensive state to live in. Medical spending alone in Alaska rose 3.2 percent in 2014.

Nursing home costs are highest on the coasts, particularly in New England. Coastal states average annual costs between $105,000 and $158,000. Annual costs in Hawaii are between $124,830 and $135,000.

The states with the most affordable care are clumped together are:

  • Texas
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri

The median annual costs in those states range from $51,100 to $56,575 for semi-private rooms and $60,225 to $68,620 for private rooms.

While the costs can seem daunting, there are many ways you can save for nursing home care.

How to Manage Nursing Home Costs

More than two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 need some kind of long-term care. It’s never too early to start thinking about this possibility and planning how to pay for it.

Most people can’t depend on health insurance or public funds like Medicare and Medicaid to cover long-term care expenses. Additionally, the process and rules around obtaining public funds are often confusing. What type and level of care you’re eligible for may be unclear or may involve excessive paperwork and delays in payments. 

Most people who enter a nursing home pay with their own funds. This includes personal savings, money from selling property, or financial support from family and friends. These expenses may be manageable in cases where the nursing home stay lasts less than a year. Yet, people with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease often need years of specialized care. This can take a financial toll.

Those who expect stretches of long-term care often buy long-term care insurance. This covers room, board, and other personal care services that traditional healthcare or life insurance doesn’t cover. One catch is that most insurance companies won’t take new policies from people already in nursing care. Plan ahead as best you can.

People already in nursing care that need financial help can also turn to services that can take out money on a life insurance policy. These services work by fronting money for one-time death benefits that come at the end of a life insurance policy. This is an option if those responsible for your last wishes and burial are financially secure enough to handle the expenses.

The Takeaway

These are only a few of the available options to address nursing home costs you or a loved one may be responsible for. To find what options are best for your situation, consult a financial planner or someone who’s been through it before.

If you’re a family member or friend of someone seeking nursing home care, get support to cope with the potential financial and emotional stresses. Many groups, blogs, and books can provide support and guidance for nursing home residents and their families.

While costs can seem daunting, a little planning and research can go a long way.