AALTCI: Home health costs up 2.5% in 2009

By Gary Linnell

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)


Costs for home health care services are rising according to a report by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI). Nationally, the current average hourly rate for a home health aide is $20.50, a 2.5 percent increase since 2009. (Costs vary by location.)

According to government data, some 7.5 million individuals currently receive extended periods of care at home because of acute illness, permanent disability, or long-term health conditions. The nation's annual cost for care in 2010 is projected to exceed $59 billion.

"People clearly prefer to receive care in their own home but the cost can be expensive," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. One year of ongoing home care can easily exceed $35,000. The national trade organization reports that 42 percent of individuals who currently receive long-term care insurance benefits get their care at home.

Medicare is the largest single payer of home health services for seniors accounting for approximately 37 percent of home health expenditures according to the National Association of Home Care & Hospice. "However, long-term care needs are typically limited or not covered by government or state programs," Slome notes. As a result, over eight million Americans have purchased long-term care insurance protection on an individual basis or through their employer."

The following are costs for home health aides and homemaker service providers for leading metropolitan areas from the 2010 Long-Term Care Insurance Sourcebook published by the Association.