22 Apr Get Paid to Care For A Loved One in Pennsylvania: A Guide
Learn how Pennsylvania’s innovative Medicaid waiver program can lessen the financial burden of family caregiving.
Providing care assistance to a family member or loved one is one of the most rewarding tasks you can do. You have the opportunity to ensure that they receive the best quality care possible. After all, few can provide the same level of compassion, support, and love that a family member or loved one can. Plus, it provides the opportunity to spend quality time with your loved one.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry about strangers that may not be as sympathetic, caring, or attentive for your loved one when you become the primary caregiver. While there are many supportive, highly trained, and compassionate caregivers out there, that may not be enough to make your loved one comfortable or at ease like a known caregiver can.
Impact of family caregiving
According to a recent report from the AARP, family caregiving impacts out of pocket expenses in America in various ways:
- Family caregivers spend more than $7400 per year on caregiving related expenses
- More than 75% of family caregivers sustain out of pocket expenses because of family caregiving.
- Minorities are disproportionately burdened: Latino/Hispanic and low-income caregivers spend nearly 50% of their total income on family caregiving.
- Family caregivers have to sacrifice a significant portion of personal savings and spending money, save less for retirement, and take unpaid time off at work.
Because of the effects that family caregiving can have financially on a family, several programs out there can offer financial support to loved ones that act as caregivers.
The most common program that pays loved ones for caregiving is a Medicaid option program known as Medicaid Waivers. These Waivers are also referred to Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, 1915(c) Waivers, or even Section 1115 Waivers. Waivers, under broad federal guidelines, allow states to pay for certain support and care services for persons that reside outside of long term care facilities such as nursing homes or assisted living. In most cases, they pay for personal care (which is care that provides direct assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, getting dressed, and transferring) plus household services offered for older adults or disabled individuals that live in their own homes or the homes of loved ones or family members.
Can you get paid by the state of Pennsylvania to care for a loved one or family member?
The short answer is yes. A caregiver could be eligible to be paid through a long-term care insurance policy or with a Veterans Affairs program, but in this article we will refer to the Medicaid waiver program that provides this opportunity through home- and community-based service (HCBS) providers. Every state has different regulations, and some will not allow paid family caregivers through the Medical Assistance program. Luckily, Pennsylvania recognizes the economic and health benefits that can come with having a loved one provide care to a family member through increased familiarity and comfort that come with a loved one providing care.
To start, the patient in question will need to qualify for the medicaid waiver program through the Office of Long Term Living (OLTL). They administer Medical Assistance programs that provide long-term services to older Pennsylvanians and adults with disabilities. This is the program that provides compensation to care providers, including the home care agencies and caregivers employed by them.
The program participants must meet both financial and functional eligibility requirements to qualify for the services. Our Beginner’s Guide to Using Pennsylvania’s Waiver Program for Home Care provides a detailed and comprehensive guide on qualifying for the program and steps to enroll. Once the participant is approved by the state waiver program, they can then choose a home care agency that allows the employment of family members. Be sure to find an agency that offers comprehensive training and development to ensure that you can provide high-quality care to your loved one that allows them to thrive and live as independently as possible. Chosen Family offers many training, development, and mentorship opportunities for caregivers and is proud to employ family caregivers as part of our team.
Does Medicare pay family caregivers to provide home care support?
Medicare is a government health insurance coverage plan for older adults age 65 and older. Medicare will not pay for long-term care services, like in-home care support and adult day services. In fact, this holds true regardless of whether or not the services are provided by a direct care worker or a family member.
This guide overviews health care costs and discusses in greater detail coverage and payment options for home care. In some cases, however, caregiving families may receive financial relief for certain cases. These include respite care or to buy certain goods and services, and can sometimes pay for caregiving. As a general rule, Medicare cannot be counted on for long term care services such as home care, but may provide short term options but only in limited cases. Review your policy and talk to a Medicare specialist for more information.
Are there restrictions on which family members or other individuals can and cannot provide home care services?
Yes. A spouse or legal guardian is unable to provide home care services and be paid for them through the state program. Spouses can only provide informal support, i.e. unpaid support. In addition, restrictions do not allow individuals that hold power of attorney (POA) over the recipient of care to be compensated caregivers as well.
How much does Medicaid pay for a caregiver?
Medicaid has set reimbursement rates that they pay home care agencies that provide caregivers, including family members, to those in need of home care services. Direct caregiver pay is shaped and limited by the reimbursement that the state and managed care plans through Community HealthChoices pay to home care agencies and other providers of care.
As a result, expect caregiver pay in greater Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley to lie between $10 and $15 per hour of care provided. Companies and their benefits packages will vary greatly so it will be important to consider that when evaluating home care providers. Don’t forget to consider additional benefits like ongoing training opportunities, company culture, and other perks specific to each organization.
For example, Chosen Family Home Care has a comprehensive package for caregivers and is one of the highest paying local Philadelphia home care agencies. Chosen Family believes so much in caring for its caregivers that they will even match or beat pay from any local home care agency. In addition, company culture is a major focus of the organization along with work-life balance and flexibility. Chosen Family believes that stronger support and pay for caregivers leads to happier caregivers and ultimately better patient care and health outcomes for the recipients of care. Check out the careers section to learn more.
How can I start the process of getting me or my loved one set up?
Whether you need assistance walking through the Medicaid and waiver application process, understanding and determining if your loved one needs help, or help switching home care providers, write, text, or give us a call and we can provide a comprehensive assessment and review of your situation and that of your loved one. No hassle, no obligation, and satisfaction guaranteed.