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Top 10 States for Affordable Long-Term Care

Author: Matthew Smith

As Baby Boomers continue to get older, there's one aspect of aging that they and their families need to consider: long-term care.

Long-term care includes facilities like nursing homes and assisted living centers. The term also applies to in-home care and adult daycare. As soon as you're unable to be alone for the majority of the day, you need long-term care.

Ideally, you'll have had the foresight to have purchased a long-term care insurance policy. But these policies have become very expensive. That has many retirees comparison shopping. Every state varies on the average cost for these services. Read on for our list of the top 10 states with the most affordable long-term care. For a more detailed look at the cost of long term care (adult day health care, assisted living, private and semi-private nursing home) in every state, check out this state-by-state summary by Genworth Financial, Inc.

10: North Carolina

The state famous for BBQ and college basketball is also known for affordable options for seniors. The average annual cost for long-term care in the First in Flight state is only $43,000.

9: South Carolina

With adult daycare averaging at an annual cost of about $14,000 and a private nursing home room at $75,000, this state is a great place to retire.

8: Mississippi

Sensing a trend here? Another Southern state takes a spot in the top 10. Mississippi's options are perfect for someone whose retirement portfolio can't afford the swanky prices of East Coast nursing homes. The average annual cost in the Magnolia State is $41,000. (For more, see: Is it Better to Retire in a Red or Blue State?)

7: Texas

In a state where everything is bigger, costs for long-term care are low. Adult day care starts at an impressively low $9,000 while assisted living is only $42,000 on average.

6: Georgia

Georgia is famous for old plantations and beautiful Southern architecture, but you can also snag a great deal at a nursing home. A private room in the Peach State will only cost you an average of $71,000 a year (compared to over $98,000 in New Jersey).

5: Arkansas

Another Southern state full of natural beauty, Arkansas also offers affordable options for its retirees. Seniors here only pay an average of $40,000 a year for long-term care. (For related reading, see: How Baby Boomers Will Change the Way Others Retire.)

4: Oklahoma

The state that inspired a Broadway hit show also has rock-bottom prices for long-term care. Average yearly costs for assisted living are $40,000 while licensed home care is only $43,000. Its total annual average is $39,000. (For more, see: Social Security's Role in Your Retirement Planning.)

3: Alabama

If you're looking for passionate football fans and low-cost nursing home facilities, you've found the perfect state. Alabama's average long-term care costs come at $39,000, with the cheapest option being $9,000 for adult day care.

2: Missouri

The first state on this list not (exactly) in the South, Missouri's prices are good enough to entice anyone to the Show-Me State. A nursing home only costs $60,000 a year while adult day care runs at a third of that.

1: Louisiana

If your idea of a vacation is Mardi Gras, then retiring to Louisiana is the perfect option. The state offers licensed home care at an average of $34,000 a year while assisted living is only $36,000.

The Bottom Line

While most people aren't about to up and move to a state just for healthcare, cheaper costs in otherwise retirement-friendly states can't be ignored. Shoppers might also notice far better deals just across state lines and near one relative or another. If your state is on this list, it doesn't necessarily mean that you can relax about planning for the future. And before considering any locale, you should also determine what kind of financial provisions you have in case long-term care is required. Is it covered by insurance? If so, how much, how long and what are the stipulations? With costs rising in all 50 states, it's still a good idea to meet with a financial planning professional to see if your portfolio can handle the costs of long-term care. (For more, see: 7 Ways to Reduce Healthcare Costs in Retirement and What Baby Boomers Need to Know About Making Out a Will.)

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