Jim Reynolds’ message for the companies writing and the producers selling long-term care insurance (LTCI) is simple: You’re doing a good job; keep at it.
Reynolds is chief executive of Caring Companion Home Care L.L.C., Concord, Mass., and a member of a family that has been in the home care business in several different U.S. markets since 1992.
The family now has operations in Florida, Kansas and Missouri as well as Massachusetts, and he is familiar with the stories of hundreds of home care clients.
His own company now focuses exclusively on families that can scrape up the money to pay cash for private-duty nursing care and other home-based services.
When asked during an interview about how many of the families can use LTCI coverage to pay for the care, he thinks a bit, then says the percentage might be “10% to 10%.” Then he thinks a bit more and says, “Closer to 10 percent…. It’s not near as high as it ought to be.”
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice, Washington, estimates that 7.6 million Americans received formal home health care and related services with a total value of about $58 billion in 2007. Millions more frail and disabled Americans, including elderly Americans, received homemaker services.
The services provided in homes ranged from a little help with shopping and doing the laundry to help with operating complicated medical machinery.
In many cases, a little money spent on home health and homemaker services can help an older person save money and maximize quality of life by staying in their own homes, Reynolds says.
Home care may be the country’s secret weapon in the battle to provide support services for the aging boomers, because expanding the supply of home care may be as simple as sending a would-be aide to a 90-day certification course and is not nearly as complicated or costly as creating a nursing home bed, Reynolds says.
Reynolds’ firm can do everything for a client from providing simple homemaker services to sending in nurses. It can attach GPS devices to clients suffering from dementia and post reports on the Web.
One thing the firm doesn’t do is accepting clients who will be paying for Medicare or Medicaid.
Medicare will pay for skilled nursing services at home for some patients.