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Annual Nursing Home Expenses Increased by 150 Percent from 1987 to 1996

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Press Release Date: September 5, 2001

New nursing home data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) show that:

  • From 1987 to 1996, the total annual expenses for nursing home care increased from $28 to $70 billion, a 150 percent increase.
  • Annual expenses per nursing home resident increased by 63 percent, from $13,866 to $22,561. Daily expenses per nursing home resident increased from $56 to $118, for a 111 percent increase.
  • Annual expenses per resident day were highest in the Northeast and West, and experienced the greatest increase from 1987 to 1996. Expenses in the Northeast increased 97 percent, from $73 to $144. Expenses in the West increased 156 percent, from $59 to $151.
  • There was a large shift in the source of payments between 1987 and 1996. Medicare payments increased from 1.9 percent of total payments in 1987 to 18.9 percent in 1996. The greatest change occurred in the West, where Medicare's share increased from 4.1 percent in 1987 to 34.7 percent in 1996.
  • The rise in the share of expenses paid by Medicare was greater for Hispanics (from 2.6 percent to 30.5 percent over the 9-year period) than for whites and others or non-Hispanic blacks.
  • The share paid by Medicaid decreased for all racial groups (Hispanics—69 percent to 50.6 percent; whites and others—45.9 percent to 41.5 percent; non-Hispanic blacks—77.7 percent to 66.4 percent).

Source: MEPS Chartbook No. 6, Nursing Home Expenses, 1987 and 1996. Select to access the chartbook online. For print copies, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295, or E-mail the Clearinghouse at

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364; Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858,


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