14 Jan How Much Does Home Care Cost in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
January 13, 2020
For older adults and individuals with disabilities, there are many considerations when it comes to evaluating assistive care. From care at home to full-time institutional care and various options among them, care recipients and their families can find different price points and services to fit their needs. Many of these solutions may be a mix of several services delivered in tandem.
Naturally, cost is a major consideration when evaluating care options. Home care is a top choice for many elders, with the ability to age in place at home and remain independent for as long as possible. Comparatively low costs along with added flexibility add to the appeal of care at home, but there is no one size fits all for potential care recipients. In this article, we will review what home care services cost in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, how care can be paid for, an evaluation of alternatives, along with the future of home care costs.
Home care explained
When looking at home care costs, it is important to know what home care is and what it isn’t. The term “home care” is often used interchangeably with other terms and can mistakenly be used as an umbrella term for a variety of services. In this article, home care refers to personal care and companionship, which at its core helps individuals with everyday activities such as preparing meals, bathing and dressing, and other household tasks to foster both safety and independence. It may also be referred to by alternative names such as non-medical care, home health aide services, senior care, homemaker care, or assistive care.
Examples of home care services that fall outside of these parameters include private duty nursing care or home health care. Generally speaking, these services are more intensive and skilled, done under licensed professionals such as physical therapists, nurses, doctors, etc. Recipients of skilled care often have more intensive or complex needs. That being said, many recipients of skilled care may also receive personal care services, and vice versa.
When evaluating home care costs, we will specifically focus on the personal care or non-medical care services that an individual may receive to help them thrive at home independently provided by an agency.
In Philadelphia, the average cost of home care is $24 per hour, according to retirementliving.com. Philadelphia does have higher rates than the average Pennsylvania state cost of $22.63, common of urban areas. Pennsylvania as a state ranks just above the national average of $22 per hour for care costs.
For a patient receiving 20 hours per care, 5 days per week, yearly costs will run $24,960. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can change cost. For example, the level of care needed or specialty care, short shift premiums, weekend rates, or other variables can shift care costs. That’s why the same study found a large variation in per hour costs ranging from $18.78 per hour to $28.17 per hour. As you might imagine, quality and service can vary dramatically from provider to provider within this range as well.
Costs will continue to rise
Home care continues to be one of the most affordable senior care options. However, costs are rising much faster than the rate of inflation. The cost of non-medical home care spiked 7.1 percent in 2019, nearly 3.5 times the rate of inflation in the US as a whole.
There are varying factors that have created upward pricing pressures on the home care industry. Most notably, labor issues are front and center. A lack of supply of caregivers, combined with increasing minimum wage around the country along with more competitive wages from the likes of employers such as Amazon and Walmart are causing home care providers to increase wages to sufficiently staff their home care organizations. The demographics of caregivers themselves presents an additional challenge, as many are in their 50s and 60s and beginning to age out of the industry.
Home care agencies are combating the caregiver shortage by offering wellness programs and adjusting wages to attract and retain caregivers. Support programs and effective training help the strongest agencies retain their caregivers and reduce disruptions to both agencies and families as a result of turnover. Chosen Family, for example, offers above average wages along with caregiver and patient matching programs and enhanced management and clinical support to staff members to enhance both caregiver and patient satisfaction. The increase in home care costs extends to other care options for seniors. For example, the Genworth cost of care survey also notes that home health aide costs increased by 4.55 percent, while adult day care saw price increases of more than 4 percent.
Paying for care
Home care is growing increasingly important in the health care sector due to lower costs than institutional care and increased quality of life for patients by remaining at home. Unfortunately, widespread coverage is still lacking for the most part, although that may change down the road. However, there are still some options to consider when looking at financing and payer options for ones home care needs.
Private pay: Many individual clients pay for home care needs from their own savings or assets, or those of their families. Sometimes family members will pool resources in order to contribute to care needs. Often, seniors or their family members may also sell certain assets that are no longer used or which may be needed to properly finance ones care needs. Finally, accessing home equity is another common option.
Private Insurance: Insurance will cover home care, generally speaking, under long term care (LTC) insurance. However, for those in need of benefits and care, they will be unable to purchase care insurance, generally speaking. If it is possible it is likely to be cost prohibitive. LTC can be an excellent option, but only if doing long term planning.
Medicare and Medicare Advantage: Original Medicare will not pay for in home non-medical care benefits.
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are now able to offer supplemental health care benefits to their members. It is possible that ones non-medical home care may be covered under their MA plan. This is exciting news for those with in home care needs. This coverage will vary dramatically between plans. Also, being a new benefit that just started in 2019, expect to see coverage for these services evolve over time among plans. Now that we are in 2020, check your MA plans to see what your coverage options may be. You may also find expanded coverage for other related services as well, such as adult day care or medical transportation.
Medicaid: Medicaid is an insurance program for low income individuals. Medicaid coverage is determined at the state level, so Pennsylvania manages Medicaid coverage and support for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). In Pennsylvania, it is covered under the Community Health Choices (CHC) waiver. Many individuals rely on non-medical home care support through the state Medicaid waiver program. Keep in mind that there are strict eligibility requirements, and that there is generally a long waiting period for benefits to be active.
Veterans programs: There are several forms of assistance and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Three different pension benefits are available and you can view them in more detail here.
Home care costs compared to alternative options
Evaluating home care costs compared to alternative options can be tricky. For starters, services offered and what one values can vary. Also, home care and other services are often received hand in hand with other care services. However, cost is critical when evaluating options. Regardless of the services received, care and support for you or your loved ones will almost certainly be a major expense.
Any comparison with home care services will depend almost entirely on the amount of hours needed. So, if one needs care at 20 hours per week, you can estimate local Philadelphia home care costs by multiplying 20 by the average cost of care ($24 per hour), and then multiply that by the number of weeks in a year (52). In this example, $24,960 would be the yearly cost of care.
Home care versus residential care: Just like home care, there exists various levels of residential care options, so costs will naturally vary based on scope, location, and care needs. As an example, a private room at an assisted living facility will average $4000 a month while a semi-private room at a nursing home will run $7441, on average.
The benefit of receiving non-medical home care is the flexibility in the coverage of one’s needs via their hours received. Naturally, this will impact ones costs. So while you can’t receive nursing home care part time, you can receive care in your home part time. Additionally, hours can be adjusted on short notice in most cases, which adds additional flexibility. These are important factors to keep in mind when comparing costs. Of course, depending on one’s situation, home care may not always be the most feasible or safest options. For example, in an assisted living situation, it is likely that one may only receive a few hours of direct care per day, but help and assistance will always be close by.
What about hiring caregivers privately?
As a recipient of care, you may be tempted to hire your caregiver privately versus an agency. The number one reason for this is cost above all else. One may get care at a discount by hiring privately and foregoing an agency model.
That being said, if one hires privately they need to be aware of the risk and responsibility associated and which will now be the responsiblity of the patient or family hiring the caregiver. Besides the general management of the caregiver, which is a major responsibility on its own, the care provider will need to consider the implications of liability and liability insurance and payroll considerations including taxes and ensuring regulatory compliance. Additionally, the private caregiver should be properly vetted including getting background and reference checks along with managing the caregiver’s schedule. By choosing a Philadelphia agency that manages this process like Chosen Family Home Care, the patient and their family can have peace of mind that the responsibilities that come with hiring and maintaining caregivers is covered by the agency.
In summary, cost considerations are understandably a major component of an elder’s care, whether it be from an institutional care center or an in-home care provider. While receiving care can be a major expense, the flexibility and care options associated with non-medical home health aides and agencies can make in-home care surprisingly affordable. Additionally, it is important to remember that paying more for quality health care can pay dividends in the long term by providing both better quality of life and improved health outcomes, which will ultimately lower health care expenses over time.
Chosen Family home care is a Philadelphia based agency that will work within your care needs and budget to find the best option for you or your loved one. Reach out to us today at email@example.com or call us at 267-457-4122 for a free care consultation and assessment. We will evaluate what your needs are and consider what the best options may be while determining what your coverage and care options are available.