The stories are similar across the country; home care workers, aides, supporting elderly and disabled clients, earn little more than minimum wage and often deal with sporadic hours and work day. They also have a tendency to not work enough hours to be covered by health insurance provided by their employers.
The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, helped to offer these workers the chance to be covered, and now some are worried that the Trump Administration’s push to repeal and replace this legislation will once again leave them in that place where they are forgotten and neglected.
These workers provide an invaluable service to men and women in need. Each state has different requirements with regard to wages, and with some states moving the minimum wage up to $15, it’s still not enough to help these struggling workers and their families afford health care insurance coverage.
For many of these home care aides, getting sick either means missing work and the pay that comes along with that or going to work ill and putting clients at risk.
As reported by NPR (North Carolina Public Radio), in the news blog, Home Health Aides Fear They’ll Lose Hard-Won Insurance Coverage, written by Shefali Luthra:
“Most home care workers’ gains came from living in states that, like Montana, expanded Medicaid. But even with Obamacare in place, many home health workers — perhaps 1 in 5 — remain uninsured. By contrast, about 8.6 percent of all Americans lack coverage.
Before [home care worker Celeste]Thompson got Medicaid, a sinus infection represented an unplanned expense. Seeing a doctor meant forgoing groceries. She would take over-the-counter pills and hope to get better. “I would go to work sick, and that’s not good,” she says, noting that her clients are frail and elderly. “But I couldn’t afford to be off. I needed the money.”
There is a lot of concern regarding the Affordable Care Act and what the future may hold for the millions of people who work day after day caring for the most vulnerable clients in the country. If they don’t get the minimum number of hours to work each week, they can’t have coverage through their employer, and with the way hours are set and the constantly changing schedules, for some, that’s not something they can readily count on.
Only time will tell how any replacement legislation will impact home care workers, but many are concerned about their future and their health.