On January 1, 2022, Arizona’s minimum wage increased from $12.15 to $12.80 per hour. So for most, this is how much ALTCS pays the Caregiver.
But technically, the payments are not coming directly from AHCCCS / ALTCS.
ALTCS home care funding is through the state waiver program, the Home and Community Based Services Arizona program or HBCS, part of the AHCCCS/ALTCS program.
Payment for home care services is through the Home-Based and Community Services – HBCS program, and through the HBCS program, a Program Contractor pays the caregivers. So the monies for care services come from them, not directly from AHCCCS/ALTCS. An essential distinction is that to answer the question, How much does ALTCS pay caregivers? You first need to understand who pays.
Funding comes from AHCCCS/ALTCS who, contracts with Program Contractors, and AHCCCS pays them.
The Program Contractors are currently:
- Banner Health Care
- Mercy Care
- United Health Care
ALTCS does not manage individuals on ALTCS directly. ALTCS outsources this to private insurance companies who are the Program Contractors. They, in turn, assign case managers to the individual on the plan.
To be a paid caregiver indirectly by ALTCS, you must be hired by one of the ALTCS approved “Home Care Agencies,” who have contracted with one or more of the Program Contractors.
Or be a part of the Self Directed Attendant Care program there still, the Caregiver is paid by a Program Contractor who helps monitor and manages the care.
So now you see that the question, “How much does ALTCS pay caregivers?” is not a simple one.
Payments vary to the Home Care Agency from the Program Contractors who hire you. Then the home care agency must pay for commercial liability insurance, personal liability insurance, and workers compensation insurance. Plus, the employer must pay their share of FICA taxes for the Caregiver out of their payment from the Program Contractor.
So the answer to, how much does ALTCS pay caregivers? It will vary from Minimum wage and up. I know you think why so low? Why only minimum wage? Especially since there is a demand for caregivers in Arizona. You need to understand that there is only so much money to go around so expect to be paid minimum wage or slightly above minimum wage.
So, how much does ALTCS pay caregivers? It will vary slightly, depending on the “home care agency. A Caregiver may be paid a little more per hour from one home care agency over another, but it will not vary by much if at all.
So why be a Caregiver then if you only get paid minimum wage? McDonald’s pays $15.00 or more per hour, with less responsibility than a caregiver’s.
You can read more about Arizona Long Term Care System.
No doubt that being a caregiver is a special person. They’re kind and loving by nature and play a critical role in many lives.
It is unfortunate that under AHCCCS/ ALTCS, pay is so low. It is low because funding ultimately is by the State and Federal Government, which is already under enormous spending constraints. In 2019, spending nationwide for Medicaid Services was over $645 billion.
To add to the issue, Arizona has over 2,100,000 individuals in Medicaid and CHIP programs; this is a 75% increase from the inception of the program in 2013.
This increase in the need for long-term care in Arizona has caused a staffing shortage in nursing homes, assisted living, and home care. So this has led more and more family members to become caregivers for a loved one.
Can a family member be a paid caregiver in Arizona?
Yes, under Arizona’s Home and Community-Based Services program, a family member can be paid to provide needed care. Even the spouse can be a paid caregiver.
Often, a family member acts as the Caregiver for a loved one without any compensation. So who benefit from the Home and Community-Based Services program are the spouse, daughters, and sons, the same individuals that are the caregivers anyway.
And the home-care agencies are happy to hire and train them because they know they will do a great job because it is their family member, not some stranger they are helping.
So, how much does ALTCS pay family caregivers? They were providing care anyway before, but now they are being paid. For the family, Caregiver the answer to the question is “Priceless!”
Think about this; likely you are already an unpaid caregiver. You just got a $12.85 per hour raise!
It’s Priceless because:
- Family caregiver receives needed training.
- The family caregiver makes sure care’s provided when needed.
- Care is provided at the highest level possible and with love.
- The family caregiver offers companionship at a level that only a family member can give.
Oh and best of all;
The family caregiver shows up to provide the care. Because wages are so low, it is hard to find reliable caregivers, so the turnover is high, and they often do not show up for their shift. Having a family member as the Caregiver eliminates this problem.
How do you become a paid caregiver?
Most that ask the question; How much does ALTCS pay caregivers because they are already a caregiver for a loved one. So to get paid as a caregiver, your loved one must first qualify for ALTCS benefits.
The qualification requirements and application process are precisely the same for someone in a nursing home.
So you must apply and be approved for ALTCS.
The case manager will contact the applicant, and at that time, you can let them know you want to be the Caregiver. The Program Manager’s case manager will help get you approved.
Once approved, this also allows an easy transition from home care to assisted living or nursing when the level of care increases to the point that the individual can no longer stay safely in the home. Your care manager that is with the Program Contractor will help in this transition. You do not have to reapply.
Another advantage is that you could apply to work at the assisted living or group home that your loved one moves to so you could be their Caregiver there. You would have to help care for other residents too.
Know about how to appeal ALTCS denial.
Steve Dabbs is a Certified Medicaid Planner™, a VA Accredited Claims, accredited by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. He helps people to apply and qualify for ALTCS Arizona Long-Term Care and VA Aid and Attendance Benefits.
Applying for ALTCS or VA Aid and Attendance benefits can be complicated, but Steve Dabbs can save your Time and Money by reducing delays and claims denials.
He is a Fiduciary, so as a Fiduciary, he must do what is in the best interest of his Clients.