Updated: Aug 25
When a senior needs help, things are always a bit confusing and uncertain in the beginning. A family caregiver arrangement offers benefits to the senior needing care and the family caregiver.
For seniors, it can be difficult to accept the fact that they need help. When seniors come to that realization, they generally have greater trust in caregivers that they know and who are familiar to them.
Family caregiving is rewarding as it provides an opportunity for you to provide care assistance to a family member or other loved one at a critical time of need. Also, the time you spend together is memorable and valuable. There’s nothing more personally rewarding than that.
There are likely many well-trained, compassionate caregivers in your area. However, family members are the best equipped to provide compassion, support, and love to someone who needs care. When you offer up your caregiving services, you also alleviate the worry over strangers coming into your loved one’s home who may not be as caring or attentive.
When family caregiving is the right choice for your family, Medicaid will pay you for your time.
Impact of Family Caregiving
Even when family members have a desire to provide care for a loved one, the financial impact of family caregiving takes a toll as these facts from a recent AARP report indicate:
A typical family caregiver spends over $7,400 on expenses related to caregiving every year.
Over 75% of family caregivers pay for caregiving expenses out of their own pocket.
Minorities take on a disproportionate share of caregiving expenses, with many spending half of their total income on caregiving.
The money family caregivers invest in caregiving duties may impact their personal budget or retirement funds.
Family caregivers often have to take time off work without pay.
Several programs are available to reduce the financial impact for family caregivers, and it’s worthwhile to explore them.
Community HealthChoices (CHC) Medicaid Waiver Health Plans
One of the programs that can help out with family caregiving expenses is Community HealthChoices (CHC), also known as a Medicaid Waiver Health Plan.
CHC is a program for people age 21 and over who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. The program requires individuals to need a certain level of assistance to qualify for the program.
In Pennsylvania, one of three private healthcare insurance companies administers managed care Medicaid. The state contracts with them to manage the CHC for program participants.
Does Pennsylvania Allow Family Members to be Caregivers and Get Paid Through Medicaid?
Fortunately, Pennsylvania is one of the states that allows family caregivers to be paid through the Medical Assistance program.
The legislators in Pennsylvania recognize that there are inherent social, economic, and health benefits for seniors who employ a family member to be their caregiver, and for the state and community.
Does a Medicaid Waiver and/or Pennsylvania State Pay Family Caregivers Directly?
Neither the Medicaid Waiver nor Pennsylvania State pays family caregivers directly. The way it works is a home care agency, such as Abington Caregivers hires you as a family caregiver. You become a regular employee of the company and will be viewed as such. As an employee, you get regular paychecks and possibly benefits as well.
Does Medicare Pay Family Caregivers to Provide Home Care Support?
Medicare is a federal government health insurance coverage plan for seniors age 65 and older. Medicare won’t pay for long-term care services such as in-home assistance or adult day services. That fact applies whether the services are being provided by a direct care worker or a family member.
In rare or limited situations, Medicare may pay for caregiving on a short-term basis. However, Medicare isn’t intended to pay for caregiving services over the long term.
How Much Does Medicaid Pay Family Caregivers?
The state of Pennsylvania allows home care agencies like Abington Caregivers to pay family caregivers at an approved hourly rate through the Community HealthChoices program.
The reimbursement rates that Medicaid pays for family caregivers through home care agencies are fixed. Because the payments are fixed, home care agencies are somewhat limited in how much they can pay for caregiving services.
All home care agencies that pay family caregivers through the CHC program pay approximately the same wages, so the hourly pay range between home care agencies is quite small.
The state of Pennsylvania is committed to increasing opportunities for seniors and people with disabilities to remain in their homes by offering financial assistance for financial support to family caregivers. The CHC program is the most common program for caregiver reimbursement.
Family caregiving is highly rewarding, and it doesn’t have to break your budget. To find out more about how to be paid as a family caregiver in Pennsylvania, contact one of our specialists at Abington Caregivers for a consultation at (215)-600-3434.
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