Examining Lack Of Health Insurance Among Home Health Aides

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday as part of a series titled "Falling Through: Casualties of the Heath Insurance Crisis" examined the lack of health insurance among many home health aides.

The article profiled a 51-year-old home health aide in Pennsylvania who lacks health insurance and receives through her employer a plan that costs $20 to $30 weekly and provides limited benefits. The woman has a hernia that could block her intestine or cause an infection without treatment. In addition, she has interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder condition. In late 2006, the woman, who has an annual income of $28,000, experienced shortness of breath and underwent a stress test that cost $3,500.


Her hospital established a payment plan of $25 monthly to cover the cost, but the woman could not afford to make the payments. The woman twice has applied for medical assistance from Pennsylvania, but the state has rejected her application because she does not meet annual income requirements.

According to surveys conducted by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, two-fifths of the estimated 100,000 home health aides in Pennsylvania lack health insurance (Vitez, Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/6).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.