In-Home Non-Medical Care – FAQ’s

Through the years of working with adult children and aging parents I have found that one of the barriers to starting services is due to a misunderstanding about non-medical in-home care. Some of the frequently asked questions are:

Is there any state oversight/regulations for non-medical in-home agencies?
At this time the state of Wisconsin has NO requirements for these agencies. Because of this it is important for the customer to be very cautious and ask the right questions when talking with an agency. Although franchise agencies may cost a little more, franchises are regulated by the corporate office and must maintain certain levels of protection for the clients.

Is the person coming into my home insured and bonded?
MOST agencies will provide some level of insurance but are not required to. The consumer can ask to see the provider’s certificate of insurance. The certificate will show levels of coverage and policy coverage dates. If you are requesting transportation services, the policy should also have a separate rider for non-owned autos.

How much should I expect to pay?
The latest Genworth Insurance study shows the Wisconsin state average for non-medical care is $18/hour. One has to balance the cost with the desire to remain at home. There may come a time when the cost exceeds other levels of care that are available.

How will I know the people coming into the home are trustworthy?
A reputable agency will do various background checks on their potential employees. This will include criminal and civil charges. If transportation services are included the agency should be requesting a copy of the employees insurance, driving record, and a copy of their drivers license. Agencies providing services for the Department of Health and Human Services are required to perform additional background checks.

Will I have to sign a contract?
Not all agencies require a contract. Contracts are generally created to benefit the agency, not the consumer. If you chose to sign a contract, study the contract very closely and read the details. Most require cancellation notices, termination notices or they will charge even if services are not provided. It is recommended to ask for a blank copy of the contract to review. It is appropriate to request 24 hours to look over the contract before signing.

Do providers have a minimum hour requirement?
Yes, but they all vary. Many times people are forced into signing for more hours than the actually need. This is a good questions to ask at the initial contact with the agency.

What happens if I don’t like the person doing the work?
Call the provider immediately and ask for a new person. You have the right as a consumer to be comfortable with the workers coming into your home.

Should I wait until I need someone or plan ahead?
I recommend planning for the day when you will need services. In most cases it’s not IF services will be needed, but WHEN they will be needed. Gathering information and talking with providers will keep you from making a bad decision when a crisis happens.