COVID-19 has underscored the need to plan ahead for longterm care
By Susan Suben
The year 2020, due to the pandemic, greatly highlighted the need to have a plan for LTC. Many individuals stricken with COVID-19 did not fully recover and found themselves needing LTC services. Many families, at great expense, became the primary source of care due to the shortage of home health aides and lack of assisted living and nursing homes beds.
Each year, in order to help you efficiently plan for LTC, Genworth releases its cost of care survey. The survey is one of the most comprehensive studies available. It is conducted by Care Scout, which specializes in helping families find LTC providers nationwide since 1997. During July and August of 2020, 57,981 providers were contacted to complete 14,326 surveys in over 435 regions across the country. The providers included nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and home care agencies.
For the sake of the survey, Genworth defined the providers as follows. Nursing homes facilities offer high level 24-hour care for personal, rehabilitative and medical needs and assisted living facilities provide lower level care for personal and health needs. Adult day care centers offer social and supportive services for individuals who can remain in the community and home health agencies provide homemaker services (cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.) and home health aides who assist individuals with their activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.)
The survey reports the national median costs, the change in costs since 2019 and the five-year annual growth of LTC costs for providers. You have the ability to review the cost of care data by city, state or zip code, find trends, learn how to pay for care, and understand Medicare and Medicaid by visiting www.genworth.com/costofcare. This information will help you plan for LTC in your state of residence or a region you are thinking of retiring to.
Following are Genworth’s findings.
• The national median daily and monthly rate for a semi-private nursing room is $255 and $7,650. This is an increase of 3.24% since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 3%.
• The national median daily and monthly rate for a private nursing room is $290 and $8,700. This is an increase of 3.57% since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 3.01%.
In Rochester, the median daily and monthly rate for a semi-private room is $407 and $12,380 and for a private room, $443 and $13,475. Some nursing homes may cost as much as $500 daily and $15,000 monthly.
• The national median monthly rate for assisted living is $4,300 with a 6.15% change since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 3.62%
In Rochester, the median daily and monthly rate is $170 and $5,180. Some assisted living facilities can charge as much as $8,000 per month depending upon extra services.
• The national median daily and monthly rate for adult day care is $74 and $1,480 (based on five days per week). This is a decrease of 1.33% since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 1.45%.
In Rochester, the median daily and monthly rate is $70 and $1,517.
• The national median hourly rate for a home health aide is $24 based on 44 hours of care per week. This is an increase of 4.35% since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 3.71%.
• The national median hourly rate for homemaker services is $23.50 based on 44 hours of care per week. This is an increase of 4.44% since 2019 and a five-year annual growth of 3.80%.
In Rochester, the median hourly rate is $27.50 for a home health aide and $25.25 for homemaker services. There are agencies in the area that can charge $30 to $35 an shour.
The survey found that pre-pandemic costs of care were on the rise due to an aging population that required more levels of care. However, these increases were further impacted due to COVID-19. In a follow-up study, Genworth found the following factors contributing to rate increases: “labor shortages, personal protective equipment costs, regulatory changes, employee recruitment and retention challenges, wage pressures and supply and demand.”
According to Gordon Saunders, a Genworth senior brand marketing manager, “COVID-19 has…underscored the need to plan ahead for long term care, considering both where we want to receive care as well as how we pay for it”.
There are definitely challenges that the LTC industry has to address in terms of delivering quality care in a changing world. The more solutions (LTC insurance, life insurance with LTC riders, trusts, etc.) you can personally put into place regarding your possible need for LTC, the more prepared you will be for anything that comes your way.
Susan Suben, MS, CSA, is president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.