New Data Measures Recent Economic Impact of Home Health

Home health agencies contribute significantly to the U.S. economy—but their impact varies drastically by state, according to new data.

Nationwide, home health agencies paid out a combined $35.81 billion in wages in 2014, according to the recently published Home Health Chartbook 2017. The updated report was prepared by Avalere Health for the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI).

The exact economic impact of home health agencies varied greatly by state. In Texas and New York, for instance, home health agencies paid about $4.8 billion and $4.2 billion in wages in 2014, respectively; in Wyoming, home health agencies paid just $17.2 million in wages.

The number of Medicare beneficiaries who experienced a home health episode in 2015 also varied significantly by state. In Texas, 319,321 beneficiaries had a home health episode in 2015; in New York, 178,757 beneficiaries had a home health episode. The number of beneficiaries with a home health episode in Wyoming, meanwhile, was only 3,865 in 2015.

The number of home health jobs in the U.S. has risen steadily since 2003, the Chartbook also revealed. In 2014, there were 1.26 million home health jobs nationwide; that’s up from 1.22 million in 2013 and 1.19 million in 2012.

Typical home health consumers

Medicare-eligible home health users in America are overwhelmingly white, female, and living in urban areas, the data showed.

Of all of the home health users in the country, 79% are white, 14.1% are black and 2.4% are Asian.

About 61.5% of home health users are female, and only 9.4% of all home health users live in rural counties. The rest—90.6%—live in urban counties.

The largest percentage of home health users are between the ages of 75 and 84, the data also found. About one-third of all home health users fall into this age group.

Approximately 24% of home health users are older than 85, and just 15% are younger than 65.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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Mary Kate Nelson
Assistant Editor at Aging Media Network
When not in the newsroom, Mary Kate can reliably be found reading on her back porch, marathoning TV shows she’s already seen or overspending at Trader Joe’s.