Cost of Long Term Care for Seniors
Cost increases for long-term elder care have moderated in recent years… but they have started to speed up again this year.
According to industry research, the average increase for six types of care has risen 4.5% this year. The average rate of increase for 2017 is up from just 1.1% in 2016, and it’s up from a five-year average of 3% per year.
This year, charges ranged from a 3% increase for adult day care, to an increase of 6.2% for home health aide services.
The median national cost of the services of a home health aide is now approximately $22 per hour.
Long term care insurance is available to many, but it can be expensive. Fifteen years ago, issuers of long-term care insurance typically encouraged clients to buy coverage with 5% compound annual inflation protection, or at least 5% simple inflation protection. This enabled a financial hedge against rising rates and pricing. But so few seniors have purchased such insurance that many companies have stopped offering coverage in parts of the country, or completely. Additionally, low interest rates and high long-term care insurance claim rates have reduced insurers’ ability to offer policies with 5% inflation protection at an affordable price. The insurers that still offer new stand-alone long-term care insurance policies have been encouraging consumers to buy policies with 3% inflation protection.
The 4.5% increase in long-term care services costs for 2017 means that, for many long-term care insurance benefits users, increases in care costs may have outstripped growth in policy benefits for the first time in several years.