The term “HomeCare” is often confused with the term “Home Health Care”. “Home Care” specifically means non-medical services that are provided in the recipient of care’s home. Most commonly, assistance with ADL’s (activities of daily living) is the primary area of need for someone receiving home care. Please see our “Services” page for an expanded list of ADL’s and other examples of home care. Home care services are usually anywhere from 4 hours to 24 hours a day and can occur 7 days a week if need be. Payment for home care is typically an out of pocket expense for the client. Medicare and the vast majority of health insurance plans do not cover the cost of home care services (with the exception of Long Term Care Insurance) because the services are classified as non-medical.
“Home Health Care” refers to medical services administered in the patient’s home. Similar to a prescription, home health care visits require a physician’s order to be initiated. The most common examples of home health care include Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and home nurse visits. Home Health visits are typically 1 to 2 hours in length and occur once to twice a week depending on the patient’s needs. Payment for home health is typically covered by the patients health insurance plan and/or by Medicare, Medicaid or MediCal.
It is very common for people to receive both home care and home health care concurrently. Usually the services will be provided by two separate companies who work together to try and achieve the best possible outcome for the client/patient. Home care services can be for as long or as short of a duration as the client sees fit, while home health care is typically bound by insurance and/or Medicare limitations and are therefore offered for a limited range of time.
See our “Get Started” section to learn about how we will guide you through each of the steps to make your arrangements.
Using a licensed Home Care Organization is strongly recommended by nearly all major hospital systems, senior advocacy groups and industry trade associations such as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC), the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) and the California Association of Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) for numerous good reasons. A few of the primary areas of risk include:
Safety- Many recipients of home care services are at a point in their lives where they are truly dependent on assistance to live safely remain living at home. A licensed Home Care Organization typically have multiple available caregivers at any given time. That way if the caregiver on duty gets sick, injured or has an emergency as suitable replacement can be sent quickly. If a privately hired caregiver is suddenly unable or unwilling to work then the recipient of care could find themselves in extreme danger if no substitute is available.
Liability / Asset Protection- The more you have to lose the more risk you have. Generally speaking, when a caregiver is hired privately, the person who is paying the caregiver becomes the employer and can have all the liability that comes along in an employment relationship. The private employer is now at extreme risk for injury (Workmans Comp) claims, minimum wage/ overtime claims, harassment claims, unemployment claims and even health insurance claims no matter how suspect the claims may be.
Screening- Responsible companies have thorough screening processes in place. Documented reference checks, nationwide criminal background checks, employment eligibility, health/drug testing and driving records are just some of the layers of protection. Screening also includes examination of caregivers’ experience, skills sets and personalities- all important factors in home care.
Choice- People in need of home care tend to have dynamic needs. Changing needs can necessitate a change in caregiver for safety and practical considerations. A company is well suited to provide multiple caregiver candidates as needs change. Clients who hire someone privately are often simply “stuck” with the person they hired.
A “Domestic Referral Agency” (DRA) is a company that does not legally employ their caregivers as W2’d employees. DRAs instead elect to classify their caregivers as 1099 Independent Contractors. This business model usually allows the DRA to charge a lower hourly rate, but the recipient of care can then be burdened with the all of the liability that a true employer has such as caregiver injuries lawsuits, wage and hour lawsuits, unemployment claims and discrimination claims. The client and/or their family can become an unknowing “accidental employer” in this scenario. DRAs are supposed to disclose the potential liability issues to their clients, but it is difficult to determine if the required disclosures are being made.
A licensed Home Care Organization, such as HomeCare Professionals, assumes all of the employer responsibility so that our clients don’t have to worry about “what if something goes wrong”. We believe this is the morally right way to operate a company that is truly and advocate for seniors. This model does cost a bit more than the DRA model, but the security and piece of mind are well worth the additional cost to our clients.
If the recipient of care has a valid Long-Term Care Insurance policy then, Yes! Some or possibly all of the cost can be covered by the Long-Term Care policy. The exact amount depends on the specific terms of each client’s policy. To verify coverage eligibility and other details clients should first speak with their long-term care company and then confer with HomeCare Professionals. We are experienced in working with client who have Long-Term Care insurance and we are happy to provide assistance in figuring our our client’s policies.
There is also a benefit available through the Veteran’s Association called the Aid & Attendance Benefit. It is available to veterans and their surviving spouses. The qualifying and applying for the benefit can be complicated, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about this VA benefit.
Unfortunately the most common types of health insurance including Medicare do not cover home care services because home care services are by definition non-medical.