Projections for the cost of home health care services show theaverage hourly rate in 2010 will tick up 2.5 percent over 2009'srate, according to new data from the American Association for Long-Term CareInsurance.

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The average hourly rate for a home health aide this year is$20.50, and costs vary by location.

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It's estimated about 7.5 million individuals currently receiveextended periods of care at home because of acute illness,permanent disability or long-term health conditions. AALTCI reportsthe nation's annual cost for care in 2010 is projected to exceed$59 billion.

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"People clearly prefer to receive care in their own home but thecost can be expensive," said Jesse Slome, executive director of theAmerican Association for Long-Term Care Insurance in astatement.

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AALTCI estimates a year of ongoing in-home care can easilyexceed $35,000, and 42 percent of individuals who currently receivelong-term care insurance benefits get their care at home.

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Medicare is the largest single payer of home health services forseniors accounting for approximately 37 percent of home healthexpenditures according to the National Association of Home Care& Hospice. "However, long-term care needs are typically limitedor not covered by government or state programs," Slome notes. "As aresult, over eight million Americans have purchased long-term careinsurance protection on an individual basis or through theiremployer."

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AALTCI has provided estimated costs for home health aides andhomemaker service providers for leading metropolitan areas:

Home care - Average per hour cost
CityHome Health AideHomemaker
Atlanta$21$18
Baltimore$23$20
Boston$28$23
Chicago$23$18
Denver$25$22
Dallas$17$17
Kansas City, Mo.$20$17
Los Angeles$23$18
Miami$17$16
New York$18$17
Seattle$24$21
Source: 2010 Cost of Care Study, American Association forLong-Term Care Insurance

A more comprehensive listing can be found on the organization'sWeb site at aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/.

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With careful preparation and genuine guidance, a voluntarylong-term care plan can be a great benefit for the employer, theemployee, and benefit broker. What can be done to increase urgencyand bump up enrollment in worksite long-term care programs? Clickhereto read more.

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