Genworth’s 9th annual Cost of Care Survey found that long term care costs in Colorado are much more stable for home health care than for assisted living or nursing home care. Most people say that they would much rather receive long term care in their own homes as opposed to moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility, and the market has responded: Since 2008, there has been a 20% increase in the number of Medicare-certified home care agencies in the United States. That’s compared with an increase of only half a percent in the number of Medicare-certified nursing homes (to be fair, nursing homes have been around for a long time, whereas home health care is a much more recent innovation – it makes sense that the latter would be growing faster, but it’s also reflective of the desire that people have to remain in their own homes even when they need some assistance with the activities of daily living).
Genworth’s survey found that the cost of home health care has risen much more slowly than the cost of assisted living or nursing home care. This is probably due in large part to the growth in the number of home health care agencies. More competition generally results in lower prices -even in healthcare, where sharply rising costs are the norm. In Colorado, the cost of home health services rose just over half a percent (0.6%) over the past five years. This is significantly lower than the 8.2% increase in the cost of assisted living and the 4.1% increase in the cost of nursing home care in Colorado.
The survey looked at state and national trends, so we can compare how long term care costs in Colorado compare with the rest of the country. Home health care is slightly more expensive here than the national average ($21/hour here, $19/hour nationally). Assisted living and nursing home care are also more expensive here in Colorado than the national average, and while the cost of assisted living in the US has risen by 5.7% over the past five years, it’s increased by 8.2% in Colorado during that same time.
Although home health care is less expensive than assisted living or nursing home care, the cost can add up quickly depending on how much care is needed. Having a strategy in place – whether it be via long term care insurance or not – will give people far more options (including the option to choose home health care) than they would have without any planning for long term care.