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Study reveals how pandemic impacted long-term care costs

Insurance Forums Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on senior care recipients and care providers. Data released recently by LTCG in its 2020 Cost of Care report reflects a notable shift in claims from facilities to home-based care in 2020, which accelerated an existing preference by consumers to age at home.

In the face of that trend, home care providers had to compete for scarce caregivers, while facilities battled higher costs amid lower occupancy.

The study from Eden Prairie, Minn.-based insurance administration and claims solution provider for long term care insurance LTCG found that the average hourly rate for a home health aide in 2020 was $25.62, an increase of 3.9% over the prior year, and above the five-year annual growth trend of 3% per year. Meanwhile, the average per-visit rate for a registered nurse in 2020 was $146.86, an increase of 6.3% over the prior year, potentially reflecting increased demand for nurses during the pandemic.

The research also shows that facility prices were mixed. Average skilled nursing facility rates increased between 2.5% and 2.8% in 2020 depending on room type, which is consistent with their five-year compound annual growth rate. However, assisted living facility prices reversed a five-year growth trend of between 1.5% and 2.3%, falling between 0.4% and 1.8% versus 2019.

LTCG’s Cost of Care study gathers tens of thousands of data points from senior care providers nationwide, with results normalized by the company’s in-house actuarial and data science teams. Insurers and financial services providers rely on this data for both forecasting and stakeholder education as well as informing customers and agents about national and regional cost variations.

In addition, care providers benefit from understanding the market rates for services in their area. These insights are also accessible via LTCG’s What Care Costs website, which offers interactive maps and projection tools to sort, rank and evaluate average costs of LTC services across the U.S.

The most expensive states for home health aides were Minnesota and Washington, whereas Georgia and Florida were the least expensive. Meanwhile, the most expensive nursing home rates were found in Connecticut and New Jersey, while the highest assisted living prices were found in New Jersey and Maine.

“We are proud to leverage our 25 years of experience in senior care to provide actionable data for insurers, consumers, providers and financial institutions,” said Matt Capell, LTCG’s Senior Vice President of Provider Solutions. “Whether delivering new financial products, managing risk, or planning for the future, our Cost of Care survey has proven to be valuable across many different channels of the industry.”

As the largest LTC insurance third-party administrator and claims payer in the country, LTCG serves all of the top 10 insurers and manages over 1.4 million policies. The study, interactive tool and data are available for use by insurers or financial services firms on a private-labeled basis.



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