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Home care costs in Florida are lower than the nation, study shows

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Expect to pay more for a nursing home bed in Florida compared with other states, according to a recent study, but home health care in the state is more affordable.

When it comes to the out-of-pocket price tag for these services in Naples and Fort Myers, the numbers may surprise you.

The median cost for home health care in Florida is $45,760 a year, while it is $49,192 in Naples and Fort Myers, according to Genworth Financial. The Fortune 500 company conducts cost surveys annually to help people realize what they may need to pay, based on where they live.

The median rate of home health care for 44 hours a week in Southwest Florida is the same as the national rate, according to Genworth.

In addition, home-based care costs more in 29 other states compared with Naples and Fort Myers, the analysis found

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A survey of more than 47,000 long-term care providers nationwide was done in early summer by a division of Genworth, CareScout, which offers plan care development for families. The annual survey began in 2004.

The picture is not so rosy when it comes to private nursing home room costs in Southwest Florida compared with elsewhere around the country.

Expect to pay $136,875 a year in Naples, while the going rate in the state is $106,580, according to the findings. The median cost is $97,455 around the country. In Fort Myers a median rate of a private nursing home room is $99,280, slightly above the national rate.The variability in pricing is likely because of tighter labor markets for skilled workers for nursing homes around the country and low unemployment rates, said Gordon Saunders, a senior manager with Genworth.

“Florida costs for nursing home care in a private or semi-private room is much higher than the nation, but home care, we are pleased to see, is on the lower side” in Florida, Saunders said.

Florida’s year-over-year pricing for home care services has not escalated like it has in other states, he said.

The cost for home health aides in Florida went up 1.27 percent from 2016 to 2017, but that’s nominal compared with the 6.17 percent increase for the same period as a national average.

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Americans overall are ill-prepared for how much they will pay out of pocket for care as they become frail and live longer, a host of government and research groups say.

The 65 and older population is increasing rapidly and will go from 48 million today to around 88 million by 2050, according to Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, scientific director at the National Institute of Aging. He spoke recently at an aging conference hosted by the National Press Foundation in Washington, D.C.

About 40 million family caregivers provide about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to loved ones, with help in daily living need and medical care, according to the AARP.

Government programs, like Medicare for elders and Medicaid for the low income, are cutting back services, and Medicare could be stripped of $25 billion in 2018 under the proposed tax bill, according to an analysis this week from the Congressional Budget Office.

Apart from the tax plan, the Medicare program has been cutting hospital reimbursement and penalizing poor-performing hospitals financially under quality performance standards. Some of the fallout is felt by nursing homes and home care agencies that must address sicker patients, according to Genworth spokeswoman Julie Westeremann.

“Medicare has shortened hospital stays and is sending patients to rehabilitation earlier, and there are shorter stays in rehabilitation,” she said.

Despite an aging American populace, lawmakers have made little progress in addressing long-term care needs of seniors, according to the private Commonwealth Fund in Washington, D.C., which works to improve health care access in the U.S.

Two out of every 5 older adults on Medicare who have “probable dementia” and difficulties with activities of daily living are not receiving any help in their homes, according to a report released last week from the group.

Rates of not receiving help are higher among men, at 49 percent, compared with women at 37 percent and higher among blacks, at 41 percent, compared with other minority groups at 52 percent, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

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Article source: http://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/health/2017/11/19/home-care-costs-florida-lower-than-nation-study-shows/873886001/

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