COVID-19 Exacerbates Already Rising Long-Term Care Costs; Healthcare providers plan further rate hikes in 2021

In a single year, the cost of care increased as follows:

  • Ease of assisted living rates increased 6.15% to reach an annual national median cost of $ 51,600 per year.
  • Household services, which includes assistance with practical tasks such as cooking, cleaning and shopping, increased 4.44% to an annual median cost of $ 53,7681, closely followed by the cost of a home health help, which includes ‘hands-on’ personal assistance for activities such as bathing, dressing and eating, which rose 4.35% to a median annual cost of $ 54,912.2
  • The national median cost of a semi-private room in a qualified nursing home went to $ 93,075, an increase of 3.24%, while the cost of a private room in a retirement home increased from 3.57% to $ 105,850.

Why prices are on the rise
In a supplement study To better understand why costs are rising, Genworth researchers conducted follow-up online discussions with owners and senior managers of 79 long-term care providers across the country. Participants spoke proudly of the selflessness and resilience of their staff as they mobilized to meet the challenge of caring for their clients amid the risks posed by COVID-19, and described the dynamics market which forces them to increase the cost of care. they provide in these extraordinary circumstances.

“They told us that the same factors are responsible for the continued rise in long-term care costs in recent years – a shortage of workers in the face of growing demand for care, a higher mandatory minimum wage, Higher recruitment and retention and an increase in the cost of doing business, including the costs of regulating, licensing and certifying employees, has been further exacerbated by the pandemic, ”said Gordon saunders, senior director of brand marketing at Genworth who manages the cost of care survey.

“Providers have been competing with better paying, less demanding jobs for years, but with COVID-19, they told us it has become much more difficult to recruit and retain healthcare professionals due to factors such as concerns about exposure to COVID-19. and parents who have to stay at home with school-aged children, ”Saunders said.

As a result, providers have had to increase wages – in some cases offer a risk premium of up to 50% more for workers caring for clients ill with COVID-19 – and increase spending on training on new safety procedures, testing, the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and benefits, such as free child care to attract and retain staff. Although many of the vendors Genworth contacted said they were trying to absorb these new costs, more than half (62%) predicted that they would eventually be forced to increase tariffs over the next six months, 43 % saying these increases would exceed 5% or more. .

Light points for home care
In subsequent and separate conversations with the CEOs of two national home care companies, executives acknowledged that while COVID-19 has created serious challenges for the industry, the pandemic has also produced some bright spots, namely the recognition that home care is also a valued part of the healthcare delivery system and the acceleration of technology that has made their services better and safer.

“The pandemic has shone the spotlight on the value of home care,” said Jeff Huber, CEO of Home care for the elderly, situated at Omaha. “We can increase the capacity of the health care system. The hospital of the future looks a lot like your living room. As part of a value-based care program, we can reduce costs, admissions, readmissions and overall utilization of the And we can keep clients safe and improve the quality of life for the whole family by keeping sons and daughters in the workforce while we take care of their parents. ”

He said the pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of technology that allows his company to onboard and train new caregivers and continue to train them remotely. Home Rather Senior Care also brings digital capabilities to the home that connect healthcare professionals with their clients and families, effectively expanding the care team and enabling the business to quickly address any issues that arise. occurs at home.

Seth Sternberg, CEO of Honor, one of the largest owned and operated home care companies in the United States, has seen the average number of home care hours drop from 35 to 45 hours per week at its customers during the pandemic, due to more acute needs, from fear of contracting COVID-19 in a community care setting, and everyday tasks become riskier than before, such as shopping.

He said his company has invested in new infection prevention protocols, as well as technology that allows it to quickly replace healthcare professionals who might not be able to come to work, alleviating the challenges of the reduced availability of health professionals. Honor has developed additional COVID-19 response programs, including investments in PPE, training, and additional paid time off for caregivers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for technology to help improve the safety and reliability of home care,” he said. “This year, we added new protocols to our technology platform specifically to meet these needs. Some of the additional features include pre-visit and post-visit wellness checks, staff replacement tools, and contact tracing. These upgrades added significant upfront costs, but they are well worth it. because they have enabled more seniors to live independently at home – and they will keep people safe long beyond the end of the pandemic. ”

Genworth Cost of Care Planning Resources
“COVID-19 has also highlighted the need to plan long-term care in advance, taking into account both where we want to receive care and how we are going to pay for it,” he said. Saunders said. “Our goal as a company is to help people prepare for the challenges of old age so that they can continue to live their lives on their own terms. We provide our annual cost of care survey and award-winning interactive tool website to equip individuals and their families with the education and tools that can enable them to develop these important plans, long before they need them. ”

In addition to the Cost of Care Calculator, Genworth’s website contains long-term care planning tools, practical information on topics such as understanding Medicare and Medicaid, conversation starters, impairment simulations, long-term care financing options, and videos real families sharing their long term care stories.

  • To access the 17-year cost of care trend tables, click on here.
  • To access the tables classifying the states from the highest cost to the lowest cost in each category of care, click on here.

About Genworth’s 17e Annual cost of care survey
Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey, one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, contacted nearly 60,000 long-term care providers nationwide to respond to nearly 15,000 nursing home surveys , assisted living facilities, adult day care facilities and home care providers in July and August. , 2020. The survey includes 435 regions based on metropolitan statistical areas, defined by the Office of Management and Budget. CareScout®, part of the Genworth Financial family of companies, has been conducting the survey since 2004. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, CareScout has specialized in helping families find long-term care providers across the country since 1997.

About Genworth Financial
Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE: GNW) is a Fortune 500 insurance holding company committed to helping families realize the dream of homeownership and meeting the financial challenges of aging through its leadership positions in mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance. Based at Richmond, Virginia, Genworth dates back to 1871 and became a public company in 2004. For more information visit genworth.com.

From time to time, Genworth publishes important information through posts on its corporate website. Accordingly, investors and other interested parties are encouraged to sign up to receive automatic email alerts and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds regarding new posts. Registration information can be found under “Investors” section of genworth.com. From time to time, Genworth’s publicly traded subsidiary, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited, separately publishes financial and other information relating to its activities. This information can be found at http://www.genworth.com.au.

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1 Based on 44 hours per week for 52 weeks
2 Based on 44 hours per week for 52 weeks

SOURCE Genworth Financial, Inc.

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Daniel Lange

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