The outlook for home health care services and equipment remains strong, due to demographics and escalating health care costs. The U.S. population is aging and patients prefer to receive home-based care. As health care providers, insurers and consumers continue to struggle to rein in costs, home health care is seen as a viable way to provide greater value and efficiency.
As life expectancy increases, the older population is increasing. The U.S. senior population (aged 65 and over) is expected to nearly double in size by 2050, from 48 million to 88 million. With people living longer, the need for chronic care management is increasing, and much of it can be accomplished effectively through home health care services.
Medical costs continue to outpace inflation and are expected to grow by 6.5% in 2017. Inpatient hospital care is among the most expensive to provide, so the trend over several years has been to shift away from inpatient care as much as possible. Chronic disease management often is best provided through home health care and technology such as mobile applications and telemedicine. Medicare and private insurance plans generally cover the cost of many home health services and equipment.
Patients and their families often prefer home health care services. Most seniors would prefer to age in their homes, and a recent survey by Senior Helpers found nearly 85% of their adult children agree. They cited comfort and dignity, continuity of routines and proximity to family and friends as benefits for aged family members who remain at home and receive home care services.
Legislative action to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have a significant impact on the affordability of home health care services. AARP notes that the proposed legislation would significantly increase health insurance costs and reduce access for older citizens and those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease — the populations most likely to use home health services.
 “World’s older population grows dramatically,” press release by the National Institutes of Health, March 28, 2016. Available at: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/worlds-older-population-grows-dramatically
 “Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2017,” PwC Health Research Institute, 2016. Article and report available at: http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers.html
 New Survey Finds Adult Children Want Their Parents to Age at Home,” by Robin Seaton Jefferson, Forbes, April 30, 2017. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinseatonjefferson/2017/04/30/new-survey-finds-adult-children-want-their-parents-to-age-at-home/#5e4a7177b44b
 “8 Ways the Health Care Bill Is Hazardous to Your Health,” by David Frank, AARP, May 2, 2017. Available at: http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy/info-2017/effects-of-repealing-health-care-bill-fd.html
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