John A. Carey of the Ohio Senate makes a great case for why the expansion of home and community-based services for aging citizens is a true win-win for seniors and Ohio tax payers alike. According to Senator Carey, if the state of Ohio is able to expand its use of waiver programs to bring its spending on home and community-based services in-line with the national average, the state would save $900 million a year in Medicaid costs. This figure is ostensibly based upon the Ohio Department of Aging figures that show that institutional care costs between two and three times as much as home and community-based care. And it could be that these numbers prove conservative since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the 2008 national average cost for institutional care is about $68,000 a year while care at home costs about $18,000 a year – a ratio of 3.8 to 1.
More importantly, and beyond the clear economic benefit, Mr. Carey’s letter to the Hillsborough Times Gazette points out that a recent AARP survey found that 94 percent of Ohioans would prefer to receive care in their home. You can read the letter in its entirety here.