Home health services may soon be expanded to reach more Americans, as a bill aimed at extending at-home support services hits the Congressional floor. The bill comes as some insurance companies in certain states are taking steps to limit their home health partnerships to only the best performing agencies within networks.
Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Disability Integration Act of 2015 to Congress during the first week of the new year. The bill would require insurance companies to pay for home health services for disabled adults to receive care in their own homes. Requiring insurance payers to cover these services for disabled adults could enable more people to remain in their homes longer with loved ones and reduce the use of high-cost institutional care.
“Individuals with disabilities have the right to live independent, fulfilling lives amongst their families and friends—but right now, they are often denied the kind of at-home services and supports that then keep them in institutional settings, far from their loved ones and communities,” Schumer said in a statement. “We need to be doing everything in our power to make sure they have the resources needed to live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes. This legislation will finally give individuals with disabilities the option to receive these types of services at home, so that they can continue living life to the fullest in their own communities.”
Schumer also says this legislation will lessen the emotional burden on families who often take care of loved ones with disabilities who are not able to receive necessary care and support services at home. Under the current health system, many disabled adults are excluded by public entities and insurance companies paying for home health services for a number of reasons.
The act, if approved, could potentially limit the need for disabled adults to move into nursing homes for institutionalized care by receiving crucial health services at home. According to Schumer, the median cost of living in a nursing facility is over $90,000 per person per year and can leave family members miles apart from their loved ones.
Written by Amy Baxter