The home health care industry had a bigger impact on the U.S. economy than ever before in 2018, according to new data.
Specifically, home health agencies paid nearly $46.2 billion in total wages to a whopping 1.47 million employees nationwide in 2018. That’s up more than $3 billion and 60,0000 employees from the year before.
The findings come from the latest Home Health Chartbook released earlier this month by Avalere and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation. The annual analysis breaks down the home health industry, along with other post-acute care sectors.
Data for the Chartbook comes from several sources, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) Home Health Compare website.
With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, it’s no surprise that the number of home health aides nationwide continues to grow. By 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for home health aides and caregivers to increase by 41%, worsening the already problematic caregiver shortage.
Still, an estimated 3.4 million beneficiaries received Medicaid-certified home health services in 2018. And as of 2017, there were 10,359 certified home health agencies delivering services. (The chartbook does not include information on the number of agencies that were providing services in 2018.)
Meanwhile, home health’s economic impact varied by state in 2018, making the biggest splash in Texas and New York, where there were an estimated 264,488 and 233,379 home health employees, respectively.
That equates to about $5.5 billion in wages paid to home health workers in Texas — and nearly $6.8 billion in New York, where minimum wage is higher.
Low wages have long been a pain point for the industry. Nationwide, the median pay for a home health aide in 2018 was $11.57 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, low pay is commonly cited as a factor contributing to the caregiver shortage.
It seems those problems are worst in rural states, such as Wyoming and North Dakota, according to the chartbook.
Wyoming had an estimated 628 home health employees who were paid just over $23 million in wages. Meanwhile, North Dakota had an estimated 716 who were paid more than $31 million in wages.
Home health expenditures were about $37.5 billion nationwide in 2018.