A bill that’s pending New Jersey Senate approval would require HMOs in the Medicaid program to obtain state permission before cutting hourly pay rates to home health care companies who serve seniors, the disabled, and children.
The legislation, NJ Senate Bill 2241, was cleared by a Senate committee this past Monday following an August announcement by Horizon Blue Cross-Blue Shield of New Jersey regarding its intentions to cut the rate home health agencies are paid by 10%.
This would reduce the pay rate from $15 an hour to $13.95 an hour, but following criticism to the proposal, Horizon changed its position to a 4% cut.
The bill’s sponsors say potential pay cuts to home health care workers could make it even harder to recruit people into an industry whose growth may be outpacing the supply of workers.
If passed, the bill would require the Department of Human Services to sign off on rate cuts for health care services that managed care companies in the Medicaid program are seeking. HMOs would need to apply for such a cut and demonstrate it has taken “all appropriate actions” to reduce the cost of providing benefits to eligible recipients covered by that plan, along with show the state Commissioner of Human Services that a rate cut wouldn’t adversely impact the quality and care of health care services provided to recipients covered by the plan.
Written by Alyssa Gerace