As NY’s Home Health Aides Get Pay Bump, Insurance Companies Leave Employers in the Lurch

As NY's Home Health Aides Get Pay Bump, Insurance Companies Leave Employers in the Lurch
Written by admin

A state-funded increase in wages for the frontline workers begins Saturday, but companies say insurance providers are withholding the money.

Adi Talwar

Home health aid Marilyn Thomas, pictured here in December 2021 feeding lunch to her longtime client, Nancy Brown.

On Saturday, Adria Powell, president of the Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates, will finally get to do something home health advocates have long been fighting for: raise workers’ pay above minimum wage, with the support of state funding.

But how those state dollars will get to her company, New York’s largest home health agency owned by its workers, is something that sets her into a spiral of anxiety so severe that her doctor commented on her rapid pulse rate at a regular visit on Thursday. “Well, we have a problem in home care,” she said, as her pulse rate rose to 120 beats per minute.

As of Oct. 1, home health aides across New York state making minimum wage will see a $2 wage increase this year and another $1 next year, following a $7.7 billion investment by Gov. Kathy Hochul in the fiscal year 2023 budget. But owners of the companies that employ home health workers, including Powell, say they aren’t getting fully reimbursed from the insurance companies managing the funding—or that the companies haven’t responded to their requests for rate amendments.

In New York, state and federal dollars to pay for home health services trickle through managed care organizations—private insurance companies—who negotiate reimbursement rates with individual home health companies. The home health companies then employ and pay workers to attend to patients in their homes or other facilities.

The managed care companies consistently maintain that their rates are proprietary, or confidential, lawyers representing workers in the industry say, leaving for little transparency in one of the country’s most rapidly growing industries.


Leave a Comment