/PRNewswire/ -- According to Genworth's 2011 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living cost inflation in Georgia is being outpaced by national cost increases. Overall, the cost of long term care services in Georgia is well below national levels.
The median hourly rate to receive care in the home, Americans' preferred long term care setting, is $17.50 an hour in Georgia for home health aide services and $19 per hour nationally. The cost for this type of care has increased 1.5 percent a year over the past six years in Georgia, and 1.4 percent nationally during this same period.
The cost for a private nursing home room in Georgia has risen 4.4 percent annually over the past six years, and in line with the national rate. The median annual rate in Georgia for a private nursing home room is $63,875 per year, less than the national rate of $77,745 per year.
Nationally, the median annual cost of long term care in an assisted living facility is $39,135, an increase of 6.0 percent annually over the past six years. In Georgia, the annual cost of assisted living care is $28,800 and costs have risen 0.7 percent per year over the same time period.
Click here for an interactive map of long term care costs in 15 regions across Georgia, as well as nationally.
Knowing Local Care Costs for Productive LTC Discussions
"Understanding local caregiving expenses is an essential first step for families faced with rising care costs," said Buck Stinson, president, U.S. Life Insurance Products at Genworth. "Genworth's Cost of Care Survey arms consumers with the knowledge to have informed conversations, whether they are speaking with a family member, a care provider or financial professional, about how they might realistically pay for care."
Now in its 8th year, Genworth's Cost of Care Survey not only provides Georgia residents with national and local long term care cost data, but also information on cost inflation over time. Armed with this information, consumers and their advisors can:
* Develop a comprehensive financial plan to cover anticipated future long term care costs
* Conduct an informed discussion with family members to address future long term care needs and preferences
* Negotiate more effectively with providers of long term care services
Negotiating With Care Providers: It Never Hurts to Ask
Some consumers may be surprised to learn that they have the power to negotiate with care providers to help contain costs. Care providers, particularly assisted living facilities and home care agencies, often face stiff competition in their local markets. Consumers should feel comfortable addressing the issue of costs, and the opportunity to lower them, when discussing care options with a provider of long term care services. Genworth's Cost of Care Survey provides localized cost data that empowers families to confidently discuss care costs and options with service providers.
Know What to Ask: Tips for Reducing Caregiving Costs
While nursing homes generally do not discount their rates because they are strongly influenced by the effect of Medicare/Medicaid on their overall business plans, assisted living facilities and home care providers are more apt to do so. Tips on where to start when negotiating with a long term care provider include:
* Know Local Costs: Genworth's Cost of Care Map provides the median cost of long term care across the U.S., including 15 regions in Georgia, to help consumers plan for the potential costs associated with the various types of long term care available in their preferred location and setting.
* Fee Waivers: Assisted living facilities often charge a one-time fee when a client first moves in. If the facility is in a competitive market, or has a surplus of vacant units, they may discount or waive this fee (or offer other discounts such as free rent for a period of time).
* Special Rates : Facilities will sometimes have a special rate if residents move in at the first of the month or during a time that is known to have higher vacancy rates.
* Vacancy Rates : Facilities may allow a resident to choose a more expensive room, at a lower price, if vacancies are currently high.
* Lower Hourly Rates: Home care agencies may lower their hourly rate if the services needed are easy to staff and long term, such as a weekday schedule that is predicted to last several months.
* Shop Around: If a home care agency's fees are at the high end of the local range, they may lower rates if they know the client is interviewing several agencies and cost is an important factor. Let care providers know if a lower rate has been quoted elsewhere for the same services.
* Premium Waivers: Agencies usually charge a premium for weekend services. For a client that also engages services for a significant amount of weekday hours, the agency may waive this premium.
* Ask for an Upgrade: Nursing homes generally do not discount their rates, however, certain extra amenities, or a private room upgrade, may be available under certain circumstances.
It is important to note that most of these price concessions are based on the availability of staff, or residential units, which is a factor that fluctuates often for some businesses. Contacting several providers before making a final decision offers the best chance of securing safe, appropriate services at a reasonable rate.
"While consumers should seek out quality and value when shopping for long term care, it is crucial that they have a financial plan in place to pay for long term care," said Stinson. "The cost of long term care remains one of the biggest risks to one's retirement security, especially with ever-increasing healthcare costs."
For consumers interested in learning more about the cost of care in their local market, Genworth offers an interactive map of long term care costs in 437 regions across all 50 states, including 15 regions in Georgia, at www.Genworth.com/CostofCare. The site offers a range of educational tools that help consumers compare costs across geographies, project future costs and share comparisons and calculations with family, friends or a financial professional.
* Genworth's "Let's Talk" campaign was developed to help families initiate conversations about long term care preferences, options, and strategies.
* Genworth Celebrates Caregivers Facebook Page: Caregivers can have their questions about caregiving challenges answered by a professional care advocate.
* An interactive Cost of Care press release containing downloadable content is available at:
About Genworth's 2011 Cost of Care Survey
Genworth's Cost of Care Survey, is the most comprehensive study of its kind, covering nearly 15,500 long term care providers nationwide. The survey includes 437 regions which cover all Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined for the 2010 U.S. census. Genworth annually surveys the cost of long term care across the U.S. to help Americans plan for the potential costs associated with the various types of care available in their preferred location and setting. CareScout®, part of the Genworth Financial family of companies, has conducted the survey since 2004. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, CareScout has specialized in helping families find long term care providers nationwide since 1997. Genworth's 2011 Cost of Care Survey was conducted during January, February and March 2011.
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