Elder care costs keep climbing; nursing home bill now $91K

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The cost of caring for the elderly continues to climb. An industry survey says the median bill for a private room in a nursing home is now $91,000 a year. The report says the cost has increased four percent every year over the last five years.

The annual “Cost of Care” report comes from the insurance company Gemworth Financial, which sells policies to cover long-term care. It’s a growing financial burden for families, governments and insurers.

The head of long-term services at the National Council on Aging, Joe Caldwell, says, “Most people don’t realize how expensive this care can be until a parent or family member needs it.”

Nursing home bills have risen at twice the rate of inflation over the last five years. One year in a nursing home now costs nearly as much as three years of tuition at a private college.

The report found wide differences from state to state. In Oklahoma, for instance, the median cost for a year in a nursing home came out to $60,000. In Connecticut, it was $159,000.