California Medi-Cal Caregivers Face Tenuous Economic Situation

Caregivers in California, including many who provide home-care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, are struggling to make ends meet, with many falling well below the federal poverty level.

Those who are paid for their caregiving services are largely worse off than their unpaid counterparts, according to the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, an April report from UCLA’s Center for Health Policy for Research finds. And the situation stands to become even worse, the report states.

“The fragile economic circumstances of caregivers are jeopardized by pending and proposed cuts to state programs,” the report argues. “These paid Medi-Cal caregivers lack job stability and have limited resources, especially if they should become sick themselves. Reduced funding for programs affecting seniors and caregivers, such as Adult Day Health Care and In Home Supportive Services, will likely add to the burdens already faced by California’s paid caregivers.”

Average monthly income for paid Medi-Cal caregivers was $1,970 compared with $4,222 for those who were not paid for their caregiving assistance, the survey finds. Additionally, paid Medi-Cal caregivers were almost twice as likely to have no health insurance as non-caregiving adults, leading to further increased risk for caregivers.

View the report.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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