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Nov. 9 - Long Term Care Costs Increase, but Georgia Remains Among Least Expensive

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

November 9, 2018 - According to the 15th annual Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the overall cost of long term care in Georgia increased from 2017 to 2018. Despite this rise in costs, Georgia was still one of the three least expensive states for assisted living facilities.  

Overall, long term care costs across most care settings in Georgia, including home health aide services, assisted living and nursing facilities, increased from 2017 to 2018. The cost of assisted living facilities increased 10.71 percent, exceeding the national year-over-year percentage increase.

Nationally, the blended annual median cost of long term care support services increased across the country an average of 3 percent from 2017 to 20181, with some care categories exceeding two to three times the 2.1 percent U.S. inflation rate. This is significant because, as people live longer, the likelihood of of needing long term care increases, a proposition that is getting more costly with every passing year.

"For the past 15 years, Genworth has been a leader in educating families about the potential of needing long term care by providing our annual Cost of Care Survey and underscoring the importance of planning ahead for these costs," said David O'Leary, President and CEO of Genworth's U.S. Life Insurance division.  "Most people assume government programs will pay for some or all of these costs5, but that's not always the case. That's why it's so important for people to educate themselves about the costs and how they will pay for them -- well before they need care -- so that they can live on their own terms as they grow older."     

Several factors are driving up the cost of care across all care options, according to long term care providers surveyed by Genworth:

  • The shortage of skilled workers. It's a simple case of supply and demand:  With demand outpacing the supply of workers, caregivers know they can demand more and companies are willing to pay more for the best workers.  Also, fewer caregivers mean more overtime, which means consumers pay more for care. 
  • Higher minimum wages and changes in overtime pay rules.
  • Difficulty attracting and retaining qualified workers.
  • Business constraints facing home care agencies, such as differing laws on certification of caregivers, compliance obligations, razor-thin margins, balancing care quality and costs.
  • The increasing incidence of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, which is increasing the need for more specialized care – and higher hourly wages.
  • Aging Americans needing more specialized care, the result of waiting too long to receive professional care. By then, the diagnosis has progressed beyond the need for basic care to very specialized and intensive levels of care, which is more expensive.

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