The healthcare industry is full of risks for all employees. Home health care comes with its own unique set of risks versus care given in a medical office setting. If you have a home health care company and are looking for workers’ compensation insurance, it’s essential to know what makes your field unique from other medical industries.
There are two types of home health care: professional and non-professional. Professional home health care is true medical care provided by nurses and therapists. Non-professional home health care, also known as companionship, doesn’t include true medical care.
Companionship can include meal prep, medicine reminders, going out for walks, driving to appointments, and personal care. Professional home health care includes dispensing medications and other medical examinations and care.
Both categories offer in-home care and may include up to 24-hour shifts. Longer shifts mean more chances for work-related incidents since your employees are working consecutive hours through a single day. Ensure your staff knows the policies for resting on the job to avoid unnecessary workplace risk exposure.
If you have nurses on your staff who visit skilled nursing facilities (SNF) or assisted living facilities (ALF), you must classify them as a different type of nurse. SNF and ALF nurses aren’t the same as home health care, meaning the duties and risks involved in these visits differ.
If anyone on your team makes these visits, there are two things you must do. First, ensure they are trained in the difference between home visits and visits to these residential healthcare facilities. Proper education and discernment will dramatically reduce the risk of workers’ compensation claims.
Second, ensure that all cross-trained nurses are coded correctly through your workers’ comp insurance policy. Doing so will ensure that these nurses have the proper coverage and that your business has the right protection against incidents in both settings. This will ensure your premium is the right amount as well and won’t be adjusted at audit.
Pennsylvania has two different insurance class codes: 0942 for professional and 0943 for non-professional or companionship. However, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and all other states only have one code to simplify the insurance process. That class code is 8835.
The codes correctly identify the work industry and its potential risks. This information helps insurance companies match you with a proper insurance policy. Without the code, your insurance agent will have a more challenging time ensuring that your coverage is adequate, which can result in insufficient coverage or higher than necessary premiums.
It isn’t uncommon for home health care agencies to have only 1099s for their employees. However, some agencies will have only W2s or a mix. Insurance companies prefer W2s, but 1099 employees can be covered.
Even if your employees are all 1099 employees, you must provide them with workers’ comp insurance coverage. The only exception to this rule is if an individual 1099 employee gives you a certificate that proves they have their own workers' compensation coverage.
The healthcare industry has a unique set of hazards, which are even more unique when care is given in the patient’s home. It’s essential to cover all your employees with workers’ comp insurance to ensure your company and employees are protected against hazards like falls, infections, and other risks.
Having the right workers’ comp insurance plan in place will give you the ability to do the following:
If one of your employees gets hurt while working, the responsibility will fall on your company. Without workers’ compensation insurance, you alone will be responsible for covering medical bills, lost wages, damages, or even lawsuit costs.
With workers’ compensation insurance, the policy is there to help cover these costs. It will give you the resources necessary to cover the costs of a workers’ compensation claim. Since home health care comes with unique risks, it’s even more important to have a proper insurance policy in place for your business.
To get your home health care employees covered with workers' compensation insurance, you must provide certain information to your insurance company. The information required depends on the employment status and what your agency offers to patients.
To avoid potential complications with workers’ comp insurance coverage, there’s information you should collect on all home health professionals during the hiring process.
You should obtain a valid certification for all home health aides and certifications and licensing for nurses. If you don’t have this information when setting up workers’ comp insurance, you may run into issues getting your employees covered.
It’s also essential to perform thorough background checks during the hiring process. Background checks can provide vital information about employment candidates' potential liabilities before hiring them. Avoiding known liabilities will keep your workers’ comp insurance premium down.
If your home health aides or nurses are required to drive, you should pull their motor vehicle records at the time of hire and annually. Driving while on the job and getting into an accident can be covered by workers’ compensation for home health care.
Have parameters in mind about your limit of tolerance for moving violations, such as no more than two per year or whatever you feel most comfortable with. If a candidate has more than the acceptable violations, reconsider hiring them. Frequent traffic violations can cause higher liability and, therefore, higher premiums for home health care workers’ compensation insurance.
If a potential hire has a history of numerous workers’ comp claims or disability claims, this can be a red flag. If you want to keep your workers’ compensation home health care premiums down, it’s crucial to avoid hiring known liability concerns.
Your insurance company will also ask for information regarding the operations of your home health care company. Operations information will help assess the risk level involved in your company, which factors into your home health care workers’ compensation insurance coverage and premium.
Many areas of operations can affect the workers’ compensation policy you need for your company, including the following:
Due to the heightened risks in home health care, your business may have a higher workers’ compensation insurance premium than less risky industries. However, there are proven ways to bring that premium down to a more affordable number while still providing ample protection.
Some of the best ways to lower the cost of your company’s insurance include the following:
If you need workers’ comp insurance for your home health care company, we can help. If you have 1099 employees, you can require them to provide their own coverage, or you can include them in your insurance policy. Either way, we can help you choose the best option for your company.
If your company is just starting, consider taking advantage of pay-as-you-go policy options. This choice can always be changed as your company becomes larger and more successful.
No matter what you’re looking for in-home health care workers’ comp insurance coverage, our team can help you find the right policy to cover your employees adequately. Not only that, but we’ll make sure your company will be protected against any workers’ comp claims that may arise through the best policy for your unique needs.