CMS wants to allow state Medicaid programs to pay for home health aide benefits, including health insurance.
A proposal rule would allow state Medicaid agencies to use voluntary payroll deductions from the wages of home health workers to pay third parties for employee benefits. Offering benefits to part-time workers could help home health agencies recruit and retain employees, which in turn can improve access to services at home and in the community, CMS said in a statement from press on Friday.
Home health workers are financially vulnerable to health care costs because they generally earn low wages and are not offered additional benefits. The average hourly wage of home health workers was $ 13.02 last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. More than four in 10 direct care workers, including home health aides, use some form of public benefits, according to the consulting firm PHI.
The draft regulation replaces a 2019 rule that prohibited states from funding third-party employee benefits for home health aides. Six states successfully sued the federal government over the 2019 policy, which a federal district court overturned in November.