As the country ponders how to improve the healthcare system, Caregiverlist would like to mention a much overlooked fact: very often the caregivers for our nation's seniors do not have healthcare insurance themselves.
The people who are actively participating in caring for the disabled, ill and aging, are not being cared for by our current health insurance system. Why? Because many providers of caregiving services are small businesses and the cost is prohibitive. A friend of mine who owns her own business and has a lifetime history of health, for example, pays $350 per month for a health insurance policy that provides coverage only after the first $5,000 of health care expenses have been paid for out-of-pocket, with no co-pays. This means she must pay out-of-pocket for any of her doctor's visits until she reaches $5,000 in doctor bills, which fortunately has not happened.
Part-time workers also often do not qualify for health care benefits and many caregivers are part-time. Caregivers who are "hire-directs" and do not work for a senior home care agency do not have health insurance as a benefit.
While there are many problems with our current system, any change for the better would be welcome. Why is Medicare the only healthcare insurance provided to everyone, and only after they are old enough, at age 65, to actually have some health problems because they have never received healthcare their entire life?
For those who have had the luxury of always having healthcare because of working for a large corporation or the government, stop and take a look around and ask your neighbor, or your caregiver, what their health insurance coverage is and find out the reality of this crisis as you form your opinion on what solutions might be best. It is important to also remember that many of the large corporations who are trying to weather the current economic storm have also been suffering from the high cost of healthcare for their employees and many have made cuts in this area.
Learn about the current plan for health care reform and learn what Medicare provides for those who are age 65 or older. Maybe we can find away to have health incentive programs and include everyone in the game of trying to stay healthy.