Isle Nursing Home Costs Are Fourth In U.S.

Kristen Consillio

Published: 5/7/2015

Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) - 5/7/2015


May 07--Hawaii seniors on average pay more than double the daily cost of most other states for a shared nursing home room at $302, the fourth-highest in the nation.

The average annual cost of a nursing home in the islands is $139,098, according to new Medicare data compiled by Caregiverlist Inc., a Chicago-based company that connects seniors and professional caregivers with elder care services. Hawaii has 52 nursing homes.

"We find that nursing home costs do mirror costs of living," said Julie Northcutt, founder and chief executive officer of Caregiverlist, in an email. "What I feel most stands out for the costs in Hawaii is the lack of lower-cost options for the nursing homes. Many states have nursing homes that are in the $100 price range and even in the nineties per day. There doesn't seem to be a lower-cost option."

Hawaii is behind only Alaska at $666, Connecticut at $321 and New York at$306.

The states with the lowest shared nursing room costs are Texas at $115,Missouri at $127 and Oklahoma at $130.

Hospitals typically discharge patients in three days and send people to nursing homes for rehabilitation.

"People do not plan ahead for senior care," she added. "It's like a tornado. Nobody thinks it's going to happen. Nursing homes now for seniors are an extension of a hospital stay."

Medicare, the federal government's health insurance program for seniors age 65 and older, will pay a portion of nursing home costs after a hospital stay for up to 100 days. Individuals with no more than $2,000 in assets and no more than $1,425 in monthly income, also qualify for Medicaid, the government insurance program for low-income residents. Many seniors end up spending down their assets and qualifying for Medicaid, which pays for ongoing nursing home care.

"Many seniors and their families do not realize that Medicare does not pay for long-term care in a nursing home," Northcutt said. "Many times senior care arises from an emergency medical event and a senior will be discharged to a nursing home for rehabilitation after a hospital stay. This is why it is a good idea to learn about the ratings and costs of nursing homes near you before you need one."