New ACLI study shows rapidly rising costs of long term care

By MEREDITH BONNER

HHBR Assistant Managing Editor

A new study shows that because of the increasingly expensive costs of home- and community-based long term care, the chance that baby boomers will end up in nursing homes is higher than many of them thought. Also suggested by the study is the fact that middle-income families have a higher chance of entering a nursing home later in life.

The study, Can Aging Baby Boomers Avoid the Nursing Home?, released by the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI; Washington), urges people who are part of the baby boom generation to invest in long term care insurance, saying that is the only way many people will be able to receive care at home.

"Middle-income baby boomers will find that to successfully age in place . . . they will have to use their retirement savings to pay for increasingly expensive long term care services," said Barbara Stucki, primary author of the study. "Without private, long term care insurance, many will face potentially catastrophic costs that could lead to impoverishment and the need to use Medicaid-funded nursing home care."

The study projects that the costs of long term care services will more than quadruple by 2030. Home care assistance, which now costs $61 per visit, ACLI said, will cost about $260 per visit. In addition, adult day care, which ACLI says costs an average of $50 per day, will increase to $220 a day, and staying in an assisted living facility, which ACLI says now costs an average of $25,300 per year, will rise to $109,300 per year.

"When the youngest boomers reach age 65 in 2030, the nation’s elderly population will double to 70 million, and the number of severely impaired elders at risk of needing nursing home care could double to 6 million," Stucki said.