According to Genworth’s (NYSE: GNW) 2012 Cost of Care Survey, the cost to receive care in the home remained unchanged from 2011 to 2012 and home care costs have also risen less dramatically over the past five years than for other types of long term care services.
“Overwhelmingly, Americans prefer to receive long term care in the home and the relatively muted increase in home care costs over the past few years can be viewed as a positive for consumers,” said Steve Zabel, senior vice president of Long Term Care at Genworth. “Consumer demand for home care services has led to a proliferation of home care services providers and more choice for consumers. This competition has kept home care costs relatively stable, especially when compared to the cost of care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.”
Nationally, the median hourly cost for homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19, respectively. While these costs remain flat from the previous year, costs for homemaker services have risen just 1.2 percent annually over the past five years, while home health aide services have risen 1.1 percent a year over the same period of time.
By comparison, the median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $39,600 nationally. This represents an increase of 1.2 percent since 2011 and a 5.7 percent annual increase over the past five years. The comparable cost for a private nursing home room rose 4.2 percent from 2011 to 2012 to $81,030, or 4.3 percent annualized over the past five years.
Then and Now: Increased Options Benefit Consumers
Consumers have more long term care options today than ever before as seen by the increasing number of home care agencies. According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, there were approximately 9,200 Medicare-certified home care agencies in the U.S. at the start of 2008. Today, there are slightly more than 11,000, representing an increase of 20 percent. Conversely, during this same period of time, the number of Medicare-certified nursing homes has increased less than one-half of 1.0 percent from just over 15,000 to 15,100. The number of nursing homes is increasing at a slower rate and is no longer the only option.
While consumers’ options have increased dramatically, creating a tangible plan for long term care is a critical step many overlook. According to Genworth claims data, the youngest claimant ever was 27 years old. Although that is not the norm, it underscores the necessity for a care planning roadmap. Consumers can create a long term care plan and learn more about the cost of care in their local market and nationally by visiting Genworth . The site is rich with a range of educational and planning tools such as free long term care quote to help consumers compare costs across geographies, project future costs and share comparisons and calculations with family, friends or a financial professional.
“Understanding long term care insurance costs in your local market and how these costs tend to change over time is vital to developing a plan to cover expected future costs,” Zabel said. “Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey is the most comprehensive of its kind and provides invaluable information on long term care costs that enable family members to conduct informed discussions with loved ones about future long term needs and preferences in order to be more informed consumers of long term care services.”
Now in its ninth year, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey provides Americans with both national and local long term care cost data, as well as information on cost inflation over time. Resources include an interactive long term care map (also available as a free downloadable iPhone and iPad App) of long term care costs in 437 regions across all 50 states.