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Too Sick to Care: Direct-Care Workers in the Coverage Gap


Too Sick to Care: Direct-Care Workers in the Coverage Gap

Jodi Sturgeon

Imagine arranging care for your elderly mother who has the beginnings of dementia. The home care aide, who has established a warm and caring relationship with her, hurts her back while helping your mother out of the shower. Because the home care aide has no health coverage, she doesn’t go to the doctor. She misses a few days of work, leaving you with a substitute sent by the agency. This is confusing to your mother, who doesn’t trust the new aide. Then, as that relationship is improving, the original aide returns but her pain grows worse.


The first thing that springs to mind is, what about Workman’s Comp? Aren’t these employers obligated to provide basic medical coverage for injuries sustained on the job? I get that it wouldn’t solve all the problems, but at least some medical care should be available. Is this program different state to state? I thought Work Comp was a federal program, but I could be wrong.


That seems to be generally true…


Insurance is a financial product, not a health care product.

Ten years ago my wife was employed by a major regional “non-profit health insurance company” and the employer sponsored insurance was quite expensive and didn’t cover much. I kept her on my employer’s insurance which had lower premiums and better coverage. Many of her co-workers also got their insurance from spouses’ employers.

Seeing how the health care industry is growing faster than most other industries we will see many more examples of health care workers getting the shaft on medical insurance and other working conditions.