Genworth Releases Annual Cost of Care Survey: COVID-19 Exacerbates Already Rising Long Term Care Costs
Despite the efforts of long-term care providers to absorb many of the costs associated with COVID-19 as they put their own lives at risk to care for their clients, long term care costs increased substantially this year, according to Genworth's 17th annual Cost of Care Survey.
Over the course of a single year, the cost of homemaker services, which includes assistance with cooking, cleaning and running errands, has increased 4.44% to an annual median cost of $53,7681, followed closely by the cost of a home health aide, which includes “hands-on” personal assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing and eating, which has increased 4.35% to an annual median cost of $54,912.2.
By comparison, assisted living facility rates increased by 6.15% to an annual national median cost of $51,600 per year. And the national median cost of a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility rose to $93,075, an increase of 3.24%, while the cost of a private room in a nursing home increased 3.57% to $105,850.
In a supplemental study to better understand why costs are rising, Genworth researchers conducted follow-up online discussions with owners and senior administrators of 79 providers across the country. Participants spoke with pride about the selflessness and resiliency of their staffs as they stepped up to meet the challenge of caring for their clients amid the risks posed by COVID-19, and they outlined the market dynamics that are forcing them to increase the cost of care they are providing under these extraordinary circumstances.
As a result, providers have had to raise wages – in some cases, offering hazard pay of up to 50 percent more for workers caring for COVID-19-sickened clients – and increase spending for training on new safety procedures, testing, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, and benefits, such as free child care to attract and retain staff. Although many providers contacted by Genworth said they were trying to absorb these new costs, more than half (62 percent) predicted that they would eventually be forced to raise rates in the next six months with 43 percent saying those increases would top five percent or more.
Click here to learn more about the Cost of Care Study and explore data by city, state or zip code, find trend charts and access lists of states ranked in order of care costs.