Homecare/ Personal Support Worker Healthcare Update

Last month, thousands of SEIU 503 homecare and personal support workers participated in a survey about healthcare benefits. Our homecare bargaining team heard from you loud and clear: Existing healthcare benefits are not meeting our needs.

  • Current healthcare benefits are too expensive, and the cost keeps rising.
  • Nearly half of us are worried that our healthcare will be discontinued if our hours are reduced.
  • A quarter of us have difficulty accessing health care. Even if we have the coverage, we can’t afford to access benefits due to out-of-pocket costs. These benefits are just going to waste.
  • Nearly one in four of us have no coverage at all.

We all need healthcare coverage that is stable and affordable.

The great news is that we have reached an agreement with the state to that will extend healthcare to all homecare and personal support workers beginning January 1, 2014. We are shifting from health care through HUBB and OHIP to a new coverage model with the Affordable Care Act and the new Oregon Homecare Workers Trust.

This new plan together with the Affordable Care Act will provide better stability for people with current benefits and also expand coverage to all homecare and personal support workers who work at least 40 hours a month.

The tentative agreement we reached with the state will:

  • reduce the minimum hours threshold to 40 per month;
  • open up new options for medical, dental, and vision coverage; and
  • include a Medicare supplemental plan for providers over 65.

Thousands of providers will be eligible to move into Oregon Health Plan Plus (with better benefits than our current plan) because of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. Others will draw on the Affordable Care Act plus the funding we won in negotiations for our Oregon Homecare Worker Trust to offer insurance with zero premiums and deductibles through the Cover Oregon.

There will be a massive education and enrollment effort beginning October 2013 through March 2014. We are going to ensure we enroll thousands of providers for coverage and win coverage for thousands of people who don’t have it. Together, we make history as we implement the Affordable Care Act and fix our broken healthcare system.

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