Inside Insuring the Expanding Home Health Care Industry

Home health care offers various services to patients in the comfort of their home, and has been increasingly becoming the preferential option for care by patients. In fact, the industry continues to grow year after year, with projections that the global home health care market will reach $355.3 billion by 2020, according to a study by Grand View Research, Inc. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the U.S. approximately 1.3 million additional jobs within the home care field will be added through 2020. Those working in home health positions will see a 69% growth through 2020, while those specifically in personal care aide positions will see a 70% growth.

Why the extreme growth? In addition to individuals preferring to “age in place,” better health care outcomes, the convenience of home health care, and the affordability of care as compared to traditional long-term care, the increasing adoption of telemedicine and other emerging healthcare technologies are driving market growth. As a result of this growth, the industry is attractive to insurance professionals and increasingly more agencies are either looking to expand their presence in home health care or add the sector as a niche market in which to specialize. Understanding the industry and how it breaks down, what each category of home health care provides, and the underwriting requirements when insuring home health providers is critical when looking to add this to your agency’s specialty niches.

The overall SIC code for home health care is 8082 and breaks down as follows:

  • Home Health Care Agencies: A wide range of services are provided by these for-profit and non-profit firms and includes everything from non-medical services such as meal preparation, cleaning, companionship and other services provided by homemakers, home health aides and other paraprofessionals to a full range of high-tech nursing and medically oriented services.

Care at home can be provided via nurses, physical and speech therapists, social workers, companions and home health aides – all under the direction of a remote physician or nurse supervisor.

  • Personal Care and Support Services: One of the fastest-growing disciplines in the home care industry is providing non-medical para-professional services. Paraprofessionals, also referred to as companions or homemakers/home health aides, follow the orders of doctors, nurses or therapists, and provide a major part of personal care for patients, including bathing and grooming in addition to some limited “hands on” assistance. This may include medication reminders, checking one’s pulse and temperature, and basic respiration work in partnership with family members.
  • Visiting Nurse Agencies (VNAs): These community-based member agencies offer services that range from skilled nursing, physical, occupational and speech-language therapy, home health aide services, case management and medical social services, to community wellness and adult day health programs. VNAs may also provide new medical technologies and specialized services, including infusion therapy, telemedicine and nutritional therapy.
  • Hospices: This type of care specializes in hospice and respite care at home for the treatment of terminally ill patients. Patients are given the opportunity to be in the comfort of their own home while still receiving high-level end-of-life care.

When looking at a home health care or in home hospice risk to insure, there is critical information that should be provided to properly underwrite the account. This includes general applicant information, description of operations, accreditation and/or membership in professional associations, size and type of account, state license and certification information, locations where services are provided, type of services provided, risk management practices, employee information, claims data, and additional insured information, among other pertinent data depending on the coverages requested.

In an upcoming article, we will go into greater detail about the type of information required to underwrite an account for each line of business, including Professional Liability and Workers’ Compensation.

Manchester Specialty is available to assist you in expanding your insurance agency book of business in the home health care sector. We specialize in insurance for the homecare, hospice and medical staffing industry, providing end-to-end coverage solutions – from General Liability to Professional Liability to Cyber Liability, Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability and Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), Regulatory Audit Coverage (RAC), Non-Owned Auto and Workers’ Compensation. If you would like additional information about our products and services, please contact us at 855.972.9399.