Think About It: Nursing Home Needs - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

May 14, 2015

Think About It: Nursing Home Needs

As if you needed more proof about the price of paradise, we now find out that Hawaii has the 4th highest nursing home costs in the country. It costs just over $300 per day for a shared room at a local nursing home. It costs less than half that in states like Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Utah, and others, on average. Many people don't realize or research these costs until it becomes apparent that they'll need such care, or realize that they'll have to provide care for a loved one for a long time.

The frustration that arises, as we hear on so many cost issues locally, is that there simply isn't enough being done to provide lower cost options here. The business reason for this is perhaps quite simple- it's expensive to do business here in health care, housing, and elsewhere, and the costs associated with providing a quality, lower-priced nursing facility would necessitate a business model that most health care providers or nursing home entities simply don't see making fiscal sense. Medicare does not pay for long-term nursing home care, according to a mainland company that helps seniors find care. Medicaid alone is not the answer.

And thus it's left up to the children of needy seniors, or the seniors themselves to pay the price tag, a price tag that's about the same as a daily stay in a decent hotel room, and this stay comes with a roommate. While it's estimated that less than 15% of people currently end up needing to stay in a nursing home, those numbers may grow in the near future as Baby Boomers live longer than previous generations, and thus may need more care and for a longer period of time, care that might not be able to be provided at home or by busy relatives. Hopefully, local medical, insurance, and nursing home businesses are looking at what can be done locally to provide a lower-cost option in the coming years.  Hawaii is aging, and this is one small piece of the puzzle. Think about it…

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