Resident advocates demand health insurance guarantee for LTC employees

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Price increases, not a larger senior population, are responsible for exploding healthcare costs: ana
Price increases, not a larger senior population, are responsible for exploding healthcare costs: ana

Twenty-four nursing home resident advocacy groups have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to require that nursing home owners provide health insurance to their employees.

Nursing home lobbyists have asked for exemption from the part of the Affordable Care Act that requires businesses with over 50 employees to provide health insurance or face a stiff penalty. The resolution from the 24 consumer groups, issued on Thursday, was partially a result of American Health Care Association head Mark Parkinson's  stance on the health insurance requirement, according to Brian Lee, a former Florida nursing home ombudsman and executive director of the resident advocacy group Families for Better Care.

While Parkinson initially told the publication Politico Pro that the fines associated with not providing employees' insurance would be so high that many homes would be forced to close, he has recently favored a more measured approach. Lee points to Parkinson's statement to Kaiser Health News that providing insurance for employees is “very manageable for a majority of our members.”

“We aren't sure where provider groups are on this issue,” Lee told McKnight's. “As advocates, we believe employees need to have coverage because if they get sick or injured, it puts the residents at risk as well.”