Home Healthcare: The Next Boom in Professional Liability

Home Healthcare- The Next Boom

In-home healthcare and personal care aides are expected to reach 1.3 million by 2020.

Imagine yourself as one of the more than 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day. Now imagine having to choose between a nursing home and at-home care. And consider this: 20 hours of in-home services (a week) costs you about $18,000 a year versus an average of $70,000 a year for a nursing home.

For many aging Baby Boomers today, this is no hypothetical situation. It is very real. That is why, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of in-home health and personal care aides are expected to reach 1.3 million by 2020 – a 70% increase from 2010. In comparison, the growth rate for the U.S. job market as a whole during that period is 14%. What this means for brokers and agents is an incredible opportunity in the home healthcare market to place more allied medical solutions.

Explaining this growth spurt for non-medical services is fairly straightforward. Entering the field of unskilled at-home care is easy in that it requires less education with little to no medical qualifications. Consequently, carriers like Atain Insurance Companies have taken steps to address this trend.

John Pacitti, Director of Professional Liability at Atain Insurance Companies, says, “Our home health breaks down into two pieces: skilled medical care where you have a nurse or therapist come in and take care of the client, and unskilled non-medical care where people go in and do basic services like cooking, cleaning and grooming. That’s the area where we’ll see a good amount of growth.”

“We have taken our home health product, which typically covered skilled and unskilled workers, and decided that the unskilled warranted its own product. So we put together Home Care Express, which we’re rolling out in 2014,” said Pacitti. “This will be a policy more tailored to personal care aides and the pricing will be a little bit more reasonable…but a word of caution. Brokers and agents need to take the time to see if it’s a good risk to begin with. You don’t want to burn out a market by constantly sending out risks that just don’t fit.”

Right now, the selling potential for home health products is enormous – and it is only going to grow. Many of today’s Baby Boomers are expected to live 10 to 25 years longer than their parents did. Imagine what all this could mean to your business.

Questions to ask your client:

  • Have you performed background checks including criminal on each of your new hires?
  • Have you contacted each potential employee’s or contractor’s references?
  • Have you performed a “pre-care” interview of each client, their family or legal guardian to assess specific needs and adequately match them up with the most appropriate caregiver?
  • If providing some incidental transportation: Have you ordered and reviewed MVRs for all employees and contractors providing transportation services on your behalf? Have you required that employees and contractors that provide transportation services on your behalf maintain their own auto insurance at limits of $100k or higher?
  • Have all employees been trained on proper procedures when reporting incidents? Have all employees been instructed to report any visual observations regarding the clients health or well-being?
  • Have you developed a procedure for emergency situations while providing services to clients?

The answers to these questions will ensure the proper policy is quoted and protect your client from costly gaps in coverage.