The cost of home-based and long-term health care is increasing in Tennessee, and is rising faster than national levels in many instances, according to a new survey.
The new study sheds light on the costs of various long-term care services — such as nursing homes, assisted living and home health aids — nationally and in Tennessee.
The study, completed by financial services company Genworth Financial, shows that the median costs for several long-term care services in Tennessee have grown at a greater rate than the national average.
"With the number of Americans over 65 projected to double over the next 40 years, continued increases in the cost of care and limited public financing options available to cover these costs, long-term care is one of the most important social issues of our time," said Tom McInerney, Genworth president and CEO.
It's also an issue that is expected to have an increasing impact on our overall economy as the baby boomer generation faces challenges regarding long-term care.
"Research shows that at least 70 percent of people over 65 will need long-term care services and support at some point in their lifetime," said Bob Bua, Genworth vice president.
According to a 2013 study by the Congressional Budget Office, long-term services and support account for 1.3 percent of the national gross domestic product, and depending on how care is structured, spending could reach more than 3.3 percent of GDP by 2050.
Nationally, the cost of home care has risen at a lower rate than the cost of institutionalized care, according to the study.
This is important, the company says, since many people would rather receive care at their houses than at a nursing home.
In Tennessee the study says the median cost of homemaker services, which is $39,582, has grown 2 percent annually for the past five years. For the whole U.S., the median rate is higher, at $43,472, but the annual growth rate was closer to 1 percent.
The median annual rate for a single-occupancy bedroom in an assisted-living facility is $42,000 for the nation and $41,580 for Tennessee. The rate has grown 6 percent per year in Tennessee, compared with 4 percent for the country.
For Tennesseans the median annual cost of a home health aide ($41,184) is comparable to the median annual cost of an assisted living facility ($41,580). The median cost of care at an assisted living facility, however, has grown 6 percent per year over the past five years, compared to an annual growth rate of 1 percent for a home health aide.
Nursing homes are the most expensive long-term care option, both in the nation and the state. The national median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $87,600 annually, compared with $72,088 annually in Tennessee.