Three Ways Eldercare Can Boost Your Business

As America watches the drama of healthcare play out on its political stage, one thing will remain certain regardless of its fate: Insuring the people who care for the elderly will always present its own set of challenges.

Not surprisingly, the eldercare industry and home healthcare has become a burgeoning area of growth.

It’s a booming market throughout the country, so anyone looking to diversify business should go after these facilities. Retail brokers and agents can benefit with the help of a wholesaler. The universe of eldercare services is generally divided into three categories:

Home Healthcare

  • The biggest growth is in this area.
  • Services can range from companion care – where basic needs are provided by someone with no medical background – to round-the-clock skilled care provided by a physical therapist, nurse or other licensed professional.
  • Professional liability claims for home healthcare workers tend to be rare, with most involving either mistreating a patient, sexual molestation or third-party theft, so agencies need to do background checks before hiring employees.

Assisted-Living Facilities

  • Generally provide independent living in an apartment-type complex with only community dining, social-congregation areas, safety bars and emergency pull-cords.
  • Professional liability claims for home healthcare workers tend to be rare, with most involving either mistreating a patient, sexual molestation or third-party theft, so agencies need to do background checks before hiring employees.

Skilled-Nursing Facilities

  • The largest premiums and claims usually come from this category.
  • Commonly known as nursing homes, though that term can apply to rehabilitation centers and other less-intensive institutions.
  • Low Medicare, Medicaid and insurance payments keep margins thin, which often leads to poor training, inadequate staffing and high turnover rates.
  • Add to this mix patients who have dementia or are too ill to communicate their needs, and claims are inevitable.

Like many industries, healthcare agencies, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes all purchase professional liability insurance that covers the entity and its employees. Unlike some, these professionals do not need to be licensed or even highly skilled.

In this segment, insurance carriers usually sell both professional liability and general liability coverage because claims can fall into a very large gray area. The best course for an insurance agent to follow is to ensure that the client has both coverages.