Big insurers and private equity funds are snapping up the companies that provide in-home care for elderly and disabled Americans across the country. Their goal: To wring ever greater profits from a largely government-funded industry already at war with the Biden administration’s plan to raise wages for its notoriously underpaid home-care workforce.

In-home health care and personal care services provide an invaluable lifeline for millions of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens who want to remain in their own homes or with family — and the number of people in need is expected to keep growing as Baby Boomers age into elder-care services. 

As the industry booms, the nation’s largest health insurance companies and private equity firms are looking to cash in by buying up a growing share of what has historically been a highly fragmented and competitive field. The result of this consolidation is rapid price inflation, even as worker pay stagnates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in early May that despite a slowing inflation rate nationwide, prices for in-home care rose nearly 14 percent over the past year, trailing only auto insurance prices among all major categories.