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REPORT: Facility Care Costs Grow, Home Care Costs Remain Stable

April 19, 2012

Nursing home and assisted living facility care costs continued to grow while home care costs remained flat in 2011, according to Genworth Financial‘s 2012 edition of its annual Cost of Care Survey (pdf).

The report used data from more than 15,000 long-term care providers throughout the country to determine the median rates for a range of long-term care services:

  • Licensed Homemaker Services — $18 median hourly rate; no change from 2011; five-year annual growth rate of 1.15 percent
  • Licensed Home Health Aide Services — $19 median hourly rate; no change from 2011; five-year annual growth rate of 1.1 percent
  • Adult Day Health Care — $61 median day rate; up 1.67 percent from 2011; five-year growth rate unavailable
  • Assisted Living Facility, One Bedroom, Single Occupancy — $3,300 median monthly rate; up 1.2 percent from 2011; five-year annual growth rate of 5.7 percent
  • Nursing Home, Semi-Private Room — $200 median daily rate; up 3.63 percent from 2011; five-year annual growth rate of 4.5 percent
  • Nursing Home, Private Room — $222 median daily rate; up 4.23 percent from 2011; five-year annual growth rate of 4.3 percent

While nursing home and assisted living facility costs have steadily increased in recent years, home care costs have remained fairly steady.

The report attributes the lack of growth in home care costs to “increased competition among agencies and the availability of unskilled labor,” as well as the fact that home care companies “do not incur the costs associated with maintaining stand-alone health care facilities.”

Declining Direct-Care Worker Wages Left Unmentioned

“What the report fails to mention is that the biggest component of home care costs is direct-care workers’ wages, which over the last 10 years have actually gone down when adjusted for inflation,” said PHI National Policy Director Steve Edelstein.

“One reason their wages remain artificially low is the ‘companionship exemption,’ which excludes home care workers from federal minimum wage and overtime protections,” Edelstein added. “We can’t continue to underwrite the cost of home care by undervaluing and underpaying those who provide the services and still expect that there will be a home care worker available when we need one.”

Genworth’s website includes a section allowing current or prospective consumers of long-term care to compare rates for various services on a state-by-state basis. The website also allows for comparisons between nearly 440 discrete regions throughout the U.S.

— by Matthew Ozga

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