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Report De-Mystifies Long-Term Care Costs in Idaho

December 10, 2007

Boise, ID - For the first time, Idahoans can comparison shop for something almost 70 percent of Baby Boomers will need at some point: long-term care. AARP Idaho has investigated prices for nursing homes and assisted living centers around the state and found nursing home care averages about $200 a day, and assisted living costs a little more than $100 a day.

Cathy McDougall with AARP says until now, prices have been a mystery, and how to pay them is also a mystery for many families.

"Most people think, incorrectly, that Medicare will cover a large portion of your care. It will cover some limited amounts, but bottom line is that you can't count on Medicare to cover your long-term care costs."

The comparisons also include quotes on long-term care insurance. McDougall says Idahoans with a family history of stroke, cancer, or chronic illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, should consider a policy if they have assets they want to protect, and if they can afford premiums that will rise over time.

She adds the options for long-term care are limited for most Idaho families, because of high costs.

"Well, we either stay healthy and pray nothing happens to us, or else we tap our family member or friend that will care for us. Most people pay out-of-pocket until they can no longer afford it, and then they end up on Medicaid."

The full report is at www.aarp.org/states.idaho. It's also available free of charge by mail; call (208) 855-4002.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - ID