A proposed rule would permit state Medicaid agencies to use voluntary payroll deductions from home health workers' wages to pay third parties for employee benefits. Offering part-time workers benefits could help home health agencies recruit and retain employees, which in turn can improve access to home and community-based services, CMS said in a news release Friday.
Home health workers are financially vulnerable to healthcare costs because they typically earn low wages and aren't offered fringe benefits. The median hourly wage for home health workers was $13.02 last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. More than four in 10 direct care workers, including home health aides, use some form of public benefits, according to the consulting firm PHI.
The draft regulation replaces a 2019 rule that barred states from financing third-party employee benefits for home health aides. Six states successfully sued the federal government over the 2019 policy, which a federal district court nullified in November.