Genworth’s Annual Cost of Care Survey Shows Home Care Costs Rising Slower Than Other Long Term Care Options

Costs for long term care in the US continue to rise but a recent study shows the cost for in-home care is rising at a much slower pace.  According to Genworth’s 2010 Cost of Care Survey, the cost to receive care in the home has risen at an annual rate of just 1.7 percent over the past five years. That compares to annual increases of 6.7 percent for assisted living facilities, and 4.5 percent for a private room in a nursing home, over the same period.  Genworth states that 73% of its initial benefit claims are for home health care.

Some highlights include:

Nursing Home Costs Continue to Rise

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In 2005 the median annual rate for a private nursing home room was $60,225, compared with the 2010 median annual rate of $75,190. This means that Americans can expect to pay approximately $14,965 more per year today for a nursing home than they had to pay in 2005.

Home Care Costs Holding Steady

In contrast, rates charged by home care providers for "non-skilled" services have not experienced significant growth over the past five years. The national hourly private pay median rate charged by a licensed home health agency for a home health aide was $17.50 in 2005, while the 2010 hourly rate has gradually risen to $19. Home care rates have remained in check partly due to increased competition among agencies, the availability of unskilled labor, and the absence of costs associated with maintaining stand-alone health care facilities.

The Least and Most Affordable States for In-Home Care

Genworth’s 2010 Cost of Care Survey revealed that Alaska, Minnesota and Rhode Island are the most expensive states for home care, at a median rate of $25 per hour for a home health aide provided by a state-licensed agency. The most affordable states are Alabama and West Virginia, at a median rate of $15 per hour.

"Long term care is not just about nursing homes anymore. Care options have expanded dramatically over the past several years to include a far greater choice of settings that reflect the ways in which individuals prefer to receive care," said Buck Stinson, President, U.S. Life Insurance Products at Genworth.