Quality Care through Quality Jobs: Expanding Affordable Coverage to New York State’s Direct-Care Workers
Expanding Health Care Coverage
November 15, 2007
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In New York State, home care workers—-including home health aides, home care aides, and personal care attendants—-provide necessary home-based care and support to the elderly and disabled. Yet, because of the fluctuating nature of their work they are ineligible for Medicaid, and as many as one in three of these workers either lack health insurance or are inadequately insured.
Every day, homecare workers care for thousands of New York’s elderly, individuals with disabilities, and individuals suffering from chronic conditions. More than one-third of these workers lack health insurance. The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) will create a roadmap for covering homecare workers.
More than 130,000 homecare workers provide daily care for thousands of New York’s elderly, individuals with disabilities, and individuals suffering from chronic conditions. An estimated 40% of homecare workers lack coverage, and even for those who have it, it may be insecure. While many low-wage workers face insurance concerns, the part-time, episodic nature of employment in this industry often exacerbates these problems for homecare workers.
New York’s recent Family Health Plus Buy-In legislation, which allows private employers to participate in the State insurance program, has the potential to benefit homecare workers tremendously. However, it also presents a host of challenges that must be addressed to make real progress in securing stable coverage for these individuals. PHI will work in partnership with the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany SUNY and Manatt Health Solutions to create a “roadmap to coverage” report for homecare workers. They will conduct a statewide employer/homecare worker survey, and analyze how insured, uninsured, and underinsured workers will fare under the buy-in. Impacts on eligibility, affordability, and continuity of coverage for both upstate and downstate workers will be addressed. The final roadmap, which would present policy alternatives for increasing success of the Family Health Plus Buy-In, would be distributed to policymakers, employers, and other homecare stakeholders.