MILWAUKEE (BUSINESS WIRE), December 07, 2010 - Northwestern Mutual released today its 2010 Cost of Long-Term Care study, which examines costs for home health care providers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes across the country.

This research is important in understanding the accessibility and affordability of different types of services by geographic location, and helps individuals make informed decisions about their long-term care options and costs.

Findings mirrored results from the 2008 study, which revealed that costs vary widely based on type of care and geographic location. For example:

  • Assisted living costs are highest in the East, where seven states have average costs above $4,000/month. This compares to North Dakota – the least expensive state in terms of assisted living – with average costs of $2,620/month.
  • Nursing home costs in Alaska are the highest at $576/day on average, while Louisiana is the least expensive at $159/day.
  • Residents of Vermont have the highest costs for home health care, at an average of $32/hour. This compares to only $16/hour on average in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi. 

The significant implications of these costs for individuals’ long-term financial security is further underscored by a separate research study – Financial Matters – in which Northwestern Mutual found that only 17 percent of Americans can provide an estimate of long-term care costs within 20 percent of their state’s average.

“People are living longer and health care costs continue to rise, making long-term care an increasingly important risk to address," said Steve Sperka, Northwestern Mutual vice president – long-term care. “It will take greater financial resources for residents of some states to protect their assets and lifestyle through retirement than others. Understanding the reality of long-term care costs in your area - and the potential impact to your financial security - is a critical step in developing a sound financial plan that won’t be derailed by a lack of awareness about long-term care risk.”

Resources for Long Term Care Planning

Northwestern Mutual has a range of resources to help individuals think about and plan for long-term care needs:

About the research

In June 2010, the Long Term Care Group, Inc. conducted customized Cost of Care research on behalf of Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company of nearly 2,000 assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home health care providers in specific regions of the United States.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual shares, as appropriate, its gains with policyowners and deliver consistent and dependable value to clients over time. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.