Health Insurance for Nannies – Open Enrollment Starts Soon

health insurance for nanniesWith so many questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many household employers and employees are asking for information about how they can obtain health insurance for nannies (and other household employees), so the individuals can avoid paying any fees for not having coverage. The good news is that employees have an opportunity to shop the health insurance marketplace next month during the open enrollment period.

Open enrollment begins on November 15, 2014, and ends on February 15 of 2015. This is an opportunity for individuals who have not yet enrolled in health insurance coverage to obtain coverage – otherwise there may not be another chance to be covered in 2015 until the next open enrollment period sometime next year. For those enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, the benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, the current health plan must be renewed, or a new health plan can be chosen through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

A potential benefit for nannies regarding the monthly health insurance premium is a tax credit, which depends on household size and income. According to Healthcare.gov, if your income falls within the following ranges you’ll generally qualify for a premium tax credit. The lower your income is within these ranges, the bigger your credit:

  • $11,670 to $46,680 for individuals
  • $15,730 to $62,920 for a family of 2
  • $19,790 to $79,160 for a family of 3
  • $23,850 to $95,400 for a family of 4
  • $27,910 to $111,640 for a family of 5
  • $31,970 to $127,880 for a family of 6
  • $36,030 to $144,120 for a family of 7
  • $40,090 to $160,360 for a family of 8

There are also subsidies that many nannies may be able to take advantage of. The Kaiser Family Foundation has created a subsidy calculator that provides health insurance premium and subsidies estimates for people purchasing their own health insurance in the exchanges created by the ACA. Enter your income, age, and family size to estimate your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance. You’ll be able to see if you qualify for the premium tax credit or cost-sharing subsidies.

For more information, visit Healthcare.gov or contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Company Holiday Party? Let us Help!

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Senior Care Issues: Home Modification for Seniors

home modification for seniorsHealth and safety in the home is an important issue to consider when the home is where the caring of your loved one takes place. Also, it has become a workplace for your employee. Whether your senior loved one decides to stay in his or her home or to live in your home, the home must be made and kept safe. Up to half of all home accidents could be prevented with home modifications and repair. Home modifications for seniors enable safety and allow people to stay in their homes longer.

Adapting homes for safer and friendlier senior environments can encompass some quick and easy fix measures, as well as full renovations. Modifications can include installing: lever-style door and sink handles; bathroom grab bars (shower and toilet); improved lighting and installing night lights; handrails (on both sides of stairs and ramps); wider doorways for wheelchair access; stairway chair lifts; walk-in/low curb or curbless showers; and, a bath/bed room on the first/main floor.  They may also include removing all loose rugs and clutter. Other useful tools include kitchen utensils like automatic openers and other kitchenware that offer built-up handles for easier gripping (as with hair brushes and combs, too), and bowls and plates with nonskid bottoms.

There are many companies that offer home medical supplies and equipment ranging from shower chairs, grabs bars, and raised toilet seats to less obvious but equally helpful and practical products that assist with dressing, eating, hearing, seeing, walking, writing, and almost all activities of daily living. Even motion detectors may be used to signal when a senior is near the top of the stairs or slipping out the front door.

If you are looking for contractors who specialize in home modification for seniors, The National Association of Home Builders and AARP offer a certification for an aging in place specialist, called CAPS. Builders and remodelers (and an increasing number of general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants) take a three-day course to learn how to remodel for seniors and create an aesthetically enriching, barrier-free living environment. According to NAHB, CAPS training extends beyond design to address codes and standards, common remodeling expenditures and projects, product ideas and resources needed to provide comprehensive and practical aging in place solutions.

Also, physical and occupational therapists can offer many recommendations on remodeling, as well as assistive devices and durable medical equipment.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

HRAs: A Great Option for Employee Health Insurance

HRA nanniesHealth Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are a creative option for household employers with a range of budgets who want to offer a contribution program for health-related expenses as an employee benefit.

HRAs have been the best option for healthcare benefits in the household employment industry for many years – whether you use an HRA as a standalone option or combine it with a major medical insurance plan.

HRAs are flexible, convenient, and cost-effective, offering:

  • Freedom of choice to help control healthcare costs for your nanny, senior care worker, or other household employee
  • Freedom of control, making your employee accountable for the management of their medical treatments
  • Convenient roll-over feature so you don’t lose your contributions at the end of the year or when an employee leaves
  • Flexible budget options – contribution amounts that you determine
  • Versatility- an HRA can be used alongside other savings accounts and health options and can be used to fund insurance premiums and deductibles
  • Popular with the employee – HRAs use employer contributions, not employee salary deductions

HRAs allow employees and employers to take advantage of the lower premiums offered by high-deductible major medical plans and help keep healthcare costs under control. The employee becomes more self-reliant, aware of healthcare issues, and develops better judgment with health-related costs and arrangements.

The employer offers a useable, affordable employment benefit to their employee that helps recruit and retain the best employees, but doesn’t break the bank.

For more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Fall into Fall this Weekend!

fall funIt looks like it’s going to be a gorgeous weekend (and for some, a 3-day weekend!) – the weather looks great, the leaves are changing colors everywhere, and it’s peak time for apple picking. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to get out with the kids for some fall fun. Here are a few of the places to go around the region this weekend from Albany.com:

Goold Orchard Apple FestivalSat, Oct 11, 2014 until Sun, Oct 12, 2014 | 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Fresh food, pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, live entertainment, craft vendors, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, live music and more!

– By reservation Thursday-Sunday evenings during the month of October.

Weave through haunted woods on a tractor-drawn wagon. Around each and every corner there’s a frightful scene and behind each and every tree lurks an uninvited guest waiting for you!

Sun, Oct 12, 2014 | 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Enjoy local chowder with a competitive edge. Over 30 restaurants are competing for best chowder. Who will win? YOU decide!

 - Sat, Oct 11, 2014 | 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Enjoy a hayride overlooking the fall foliage of the Green Mountains. Take a Pony Ride or get lost in the hay bale maze. Enjoy home made baked goods, chili, apple cider and hot chocolate!

 

Avoiding a Household Employee Injury

avoiding a household employee injuryA satisfying workplace is only obtained in a healthy and safe environment. It is of utmost concern when a nanny or other household employee is taking care of family members, particularly children and seniors who are more susceptible to household injuries and accidents. Aside from federal, state, and local laws governing a healthy and safe workplace, household employers may take some basic steps to ensure household safety. These home safety measures apply to any home or household member, and can easily apply to household workers. By reviewing the list below, you will be better prepared to avoid a household employee injury.

Top Five Workplace Injuries

While these are the top workplace injuries for all workplaces—not just the home—many are relevant to the home environment and show that when someone is employed in the home it is still his or her workplace, and therefore workplace safety is just as relevant as in another location. Here are the top five workplace injuries based on the 2013 Liberty Mutual Insurance Workplace Safety Index.

  1. Overexertion:  Household workers have to do a lot of manual handling. Sometimes this can be a lot of lifting or other activities that require the use of hands and limbs required for elderly caregiving and work activities related to nursing, carrying children or gardening, to name just a few. Incidents that can relate to overexertion involve hand and arm strain and back pain.
  2. Falls On Same Level:  This pertains to falls that have happened on same level surfaces. Common injuries filed in this category are slipping on wet floors, falling on snow covered surfaces, and others. If an employee falls on your property and is injured because of a slippery sidewalk, or a wet bathroom, they have a workplace injury.
  3. Struck By An Object:  This is usually from a tool falling on the head of the employee from above, and can be relevant to the household industry if the employee works outside, such as a gardener, or sometimes in the home (such as a chef).
  4. Falls To Lower Level:  Falling from stairways, roofs, ladders, and other elevated areas are common injury-related occurrances. Homes that contain stairs or household work that requires ladders (such as gardening) can therefore cause these types of workplace injuries and care should be taken to prevent falls with the proper installation of handrails and so forth.
  5. Bodily Reactions:  Slips and trips are, without a doubt, among the most common accidents occurring in the workplace. Slips and trips can happen anywhere—including the home. Household employers therefore should protect themselves against liability of them occurring in their home with regard to their employee.

Because having an employee carries a risk of injury in your home, we highly recommend having a workers’ compensation insurance policy in place (and many states require you to have such a policy). Workers’ compensation will cover necessary medical bills and a portion of your employee’s wages should he/she become injured or ill as a result of duties. This ultimately protects you, as an employer, from a lawsuit. Another benefit is the security knowing that coverage is available in the event of an employee injury on the job.

For more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

Unique Benefits for Nannies

benefits for nanniesWhile providing employee benefits is largely optional and seldom required by law, employee benefits greatly help the household employer attract and retain high-level employees. To get and keep the most talented employees, employers must treat employees like professionals. Therefore, offering employee benefits is an important consideration for all household employers. By providing an attractive employee benefits package, the employer is helping to maintain a satisfied workforce. Satisfied employees equal a happy workplace, which in turn equals a happy family and life for the employer.

The most popular household employee benefits include medical or dental insurance, paid time for vacation, holiday, sick or personal leave, bonuses, and annual pay increases. But there are several unique benefits for nannies and other household employees that you can offer.

Flexible Work Hours

Although this may not suit all household schedules, employers willing to consider flexible working arrangements (when requested in advance) are likely to establish a more loyal, stable, and happy household workforce. Recognizing and remembering that employees have a personal and social life outside of work is important to any employer-employee relationship. Many household employers allow for part-time work, time off during the week if the employee worked during the weekend, or time off for the occasional personal commitment or infrequent sick day—with each potential circumstance being discussed in the work agreement, in the employee handbook, and at the start of employment. Clear communication is essential for mutual understanding. Therefore, employers offering permanent flexible work arrangements should carefully plan schedules with the employee, particularly if the household help member is tasked with dependent care. Employers should be aware of their state’s policies on mandatory time off, especially when considering a flexible working arrangement.

Prepaid Legal Services

Some employers offer employees prepaid legal services as an employee benefit. Prepaid legal services may involve citizenship, divorce, adoption, and so on, and create a unique value to employees who require legal advice and representation. Prepaid legal services may be available through a subscription plan. Employers need to clearly state in the work agreement and the employee handbook the premium requirements for prepaid legal services, and if such services are provided at the employer’s discretion.

Use of Employer’s Personal Property and Facilities

Use of personal property and facilities normally unavailable to the employee outside of work can be considered a great employee benefit. This may include use of the home computer, television, exercise equipment/gym, swimming pool, and so on. The employee handbook needs to clearly list what is available for employee use and to whom this can extend in terms of friends and family of the employee. The employee handbook must also clearly state which parts of the property and facilities are off limits. Employees should be reminded that the employer owns the property/facility, and that the employer has the right to inspect and monitor usage—including, for example, user history files on the internet and sent email messages. The employee handbook should outline procedures for reporting needed repairs or any damage or misuse of property and facilities to the employer.

For more information, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.

2014 Nanny of the Year!

2014 Nanny of the Year Last week was National Nanny Recognition Week, and as we have done in previous years, we have selected a nanny that stands out as our Nanny of the Year. For 2014, we are proud to announce that our Nanny of the Year is Sonya!

Sonya has been working in childcare for over 15 years. She grew up in a small town near the Canadian border, and received her degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. Sonya first came to A New England Nanny in 2004 and has worked with three of our families as a full-time nanny. She has also worked with families through the temp program and has been wonderful. She has chosen to be a nanny as her career, her commitment to her families is remarkable, and she loves what she does!

When she is not working as a nanny caring for her 18-month-old charge, she enjoys spending time reading, camping, visiting with family and friends, visiting with her past families and catching up on how everyone is doing, and as you can see from her photo, going to Disney! Sonya currently resides in Cohoes with her husband and her cats.

Sonya has been recognized as our Nanny of the Year for all that she has contributed to her families and continues to do!

We are very much honored to have Sonya as a part of our staff here at A New England Nanny. Please join us in congratulating Sonya!

Nominate Your Nanny!

hirenannyIs your nanny the best nanny?

September 21-27, 2014 is National Nanny Recognition Week! During this week, families, businesses, and the media are encouraged to focus on the positive aspects of the nanny profession, the important role nannies play in the lives of the families, and the wonderful contribution they make in the lives of the children they care for.

There are numerous ways to celebrate this special week; one way is for you to nominate your nanny for our Nanny of the Year! Each year, A New England Nanny honors a nanny who has made a lasting impact on a family, and is an inspiration to others in the profession. Nominations are open to all full-time and temporary nannies. If you would like to nominate a nanny, please send us a brief essay about why your nominee deserves this special recognition.

Please email your essay to Melissa@anewenglandnanny.com by Wednesday, September 24th. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 26th, and will receive a very special gift!

Please let us know if you have any questions or need more information. Have a great day!

Types of Senior Care

types of senior careSenior care relates to a wide range of care, but commonly refers to services that are extended over a long period of time to people needing assistance in performing normal activities of daily living (ADL). Simply, senior care is the care of older people, especially the care of an older parent most often in the home of a son or daughter. In-home senior care can include a wide range of medical and non-medical services, such as: adult day care; respite care; household financial planning and management; companionship; geriatric assessment, evaluation and care management; medical home health care; non-medical home care; live-in home care; home safety; home renovation and maintenance; hospice services; meal preparation and delivery; personal care (bathing, grooming, toileting); rehabilitation services (physical and occupational therapy); transportation; physician visits; and, even transition services, such as home sale, relocation, downsizing, or asset liquidation.

Types of senior care jobs for at-home care                        

Chore Workers: largely assist with minor household repairs and maintenance, including yard work, housecleaning, snow removal, and installing safety devices, such as ramps and shower grab bars. Chore workers may also do grocery shopping, laundry, and meal preparation. (Chore workers may be available through nonprofits, churches, or senior centers for free or for a fee based on a sliding scale.)

Certified Nursing Assistants: CNAs generally assist with bathing and personal care.

Companions: offer company or supervision to people who cannot be left alone. They may prepare meals, and some may stay through the night. They are generally available through home care agencies or independently hired.

Home Health Aides: help patients with daily activities, such as rising from bed, bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting, and walking. Some home health aides work with a nurse and/or physical therapist to provide medical help, and most home health care is medically ordered by a doctor—usually after discharge from a hospital to home but still requiring skilled care. Home health aides may also take temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure readings, change bandages, and assist with physical and occupational therapy exercises. Home health aides are available through certified home health agencies.

Homemakers: clean, shop, launder, and prepare meals and are available through home care agencies or independently hired.

Licensed Practical Nurses: LPNs generally provide nursing care other than administering medications and work under a RN’s direction.

Nutritionists: offer dietary guidance, establishing a diet compatible with the senior’s medication.

Occupational Therapists: OTs use rehabilitative exercises, techniques, and equipment to improve activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing, eating, and bathing by working on muscle control and coordination. OTs work to make everyday tasks easier.

Personal Attendants: assist with personal care and accompany clients to medical appointments and recreational/social activities.

Physical Therapists: PTs work to restore mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength and help to alleviate pain through exercise, massage, ultrasound, and other specialized equipment. PTs also train patients on using canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices, while also training caregivers and family members on techniques such as transferring to and from a wheelchair to bed or toilet.

Registered Nurses: RNs provide medical care and educate people on disease treatments and prevention. Care may include administering medications (including injections and intravenous [IV] therapy), caring for wounds, inserting catheters, and cleaning feeding tubes, and much more.

Social Workers: evaluate the social and emotional aspects affecting the patient and then offer counseling for depression, grief, and loss, and help identify available community resources. Often, social workers serve as case managers in very complex cases that demand a coordination of services. (A MSW is a social worker who holds a master’s degree in social work and is state certified.)

Speech Therapists: or speech language pathologists help to restore speech and retrain patients in breathing, swallowing, and muscle control after an accident or a debilitative disease.

For more information on how A New England Nanny can help you hire someone for these jobs, please contact us at (518) 348-0400.