How Much Does Home Health Aide Care Cost?

How Much Does Home Health Aide Care Cost?

How Much Does Home Health Aide Care Cost?

Learn about how much Home Health Aide (HHA) caregiving costs are both across the region and right here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Understand what home care options are available. 

 

For seniors and individuals with disabilities, there are many considerations when it comes to evaluating home healthcare services. From Home Health Aide caregiving at home to full-time institutional care, there are a variety of options. Care recipients and their family loved ones can find different price points and services to fit their needs. Many of these solutions may be a mix of several services delivered simultaneously. 

Understandably, cost is a major consideration when evaluating home care options. Home care is a top choice for many seniors. Home Health Aides and caregivers provide the ability to age in place at home and remain independent for as long as possible. Comparatively low costs plus added flexibility increase the appeal of care at home. However, there is no one size fits all approach for potential Home Health Aide care recipients. In this article, we will review what home care services cost in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when receiving Home Health Aide services. Plus, we discuss how care can be paid for, alternatives available, plus the future of home health aide care costs

Home healthcare and 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 and is often an umbrella term for a variety of services. In this article, home care and Home Health Aide (HHA) refer to personal care and companionship. At its core they help 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. Sometimes, Home Health Aides may be referred to as Personal Care Aides. However, Home Health Aides are able to do some expanded light healthcare duties under the supervision of a registered nurse. 

Examples of home care services that fall outside of these parameters include direct nursing 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 also receive personal care and home health aide services, and vice versa.

 

Home Health Aide costs

Home Health Aide

When evaluating home care costs, we will focus on Home Health Aide services. A senior or disabled individual may receive these services  to help them thrive at home independently provided by a home care or home healthcare agency.

In Philadelphia, the average cost of home care, including with Home Health Aides, is $24 per hour, according to retirementliving.com. Philadelphia does have higher rates than the average Pennsylvania state cost of $22.63. This is not uncommon to find in urban areas because they have higher costs associated. Pennsylvania as a state ranks just above the national average of $22 per hour for Home Health Aide home care provided. 

As an example, a patient receiving 4 hours per care at a time by a Home Health Aide at 5 days per week will have yearly costs of $24,960. Keep in mind that there are many factors that can change caregiving home care costs. For example, the level of care needed or specialty care, short shift premiums, weekend rates, or other variables can change caregiving costs. That’s why the same study found a large variation in per hour costs. They ranged from $18.78 per hour to $28.17 per hour of Home Health Aide costs. As you might imagine, quality and service can vary dramatically from home healthcare 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 and Home Health Aide services spiked 7.1 percent in 2019. This is nearly 3.5 times the rate of inflation in the US as a whole. 

There are various factors that have created upward pricing pressures on the home care and Home Health Aide industry. Most notably, labor issues are front and center. A lack of supply of Home Health Aide caregivers is one concern. Increasing minimum wages around the country are additional pressures to find caregivers. Plus, more competitive wages from the likes of employers such as Amazon and Walmart are causing home care providers to increase wages to Home Health Aides to sufficiently staff their home care organizations. The demographics of Home Health Aide caregivers themselves presents an additional challenge. Many HHAs and caregivers are in their 50s and 60s and beginning to age out of the home care industry.

Home healthcare agencies are combatting the caregiver shortage by offering wellness programs and adjusting wages to attract and retain Home Health Aides and 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 Home Care, 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. 

Pennsylvania's Medicaid Waiver

The increase in home care costs extends to other care options for seniors. For example, the Genworth cost of care survey 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 home care and Home Health Aides

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 one’s 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


Interested in obtaining a home health aide certification? Click here to check out Philadelphia’s premier school for HHA and Certified Nurse Aide training.

How can I get a caregiver for myself or a loved one if I have no money?

Some individuals may find themselves with limited resources or an inability to pay for home care and Home Health Aide services. Medicaid waiver is the best option in Pennsylvania for those that qualify. Read our post on Pennsylvania’s CHC Medicaid waiver: A Guide to Services at Home. This post outlines services available under the program. Eligible participants may qualify for home care and Home Health Aide services


Can I get paid to care for my family member or loved one?

Yes. Under the same CHC Medicaid waiver program, eligible caregivers may be compensated to provide home care and Home Health Aide services to program participants. 

Read our guide on how family members can get compensated to provide caregiving and Home Health Aide services to loved ones

Home care and Home Health Aide costs compared to other senior care options

Evaluating home care costs compared to alternative options can be difficult. For starters, services offered and what one values can vary. Also, home care and caregiving services are often received hand in hand with other care services. However, cost is critical when evaluating alternatives. 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. As a result, costs will vary based on scope, location, and overall 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 and Home Health Aide caregiving services is the flexibility in hours and caregiving needs received. Naturally, this will directly impact home care costs. So while you can’t receive nursing home care part time, you can receive home care part time. Additionally, Home Health Aide and caregiving 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 Home Health Aide caregiver privately as opposed to choosing a home healthcare agency. The number one reason for this is due to cost. One may get care at a discount by hiring privately and foregoing a home care agency model

That being said, if one hires Home Health Aides privately they need to be aware of the risk and responsibility associated. In this scenario, these risks are now the responsibility of the patient or family hiring the Home Health Aide 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. For example, liability insurance and payroll considerations such as taxes and ensuring regulatory compliance are major costs and associated risks.

Plus, the private Home Health Aide caregiver should be properly screened to include 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 and Home Health Aides is dealt with by the home care agency.

To conclude

In summary, cost considerations are understandably a major component of evaluating care options for seniors and disabled adults. This is the case whether the care comes from an institutional care center or by a Home Health Aide through a home care agency provider. While receiving home healthcare can be a major expense, the flexibility and care options associated with home health aides and home care 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, health care expenses may be lower over time. 

Chosen Family home care is a Philadelphia based home care agency that will work with you or your family member’s care needs and budget. We can help you find the best option for you or your loved one if a caregiver at home is needed or a Home Health Aide. Reach out to us today at info@chosenfamilyhomecare.com or call us at 267-457-4122 for a free care consultation and assessment. We will evaluate what your healthcare needs are and consider what the best home care options are. Chosen Family Home Care can also help you determine what your healthcare coverage is and what home care options are available for you.

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