Monday, September 21, 2009

HEALTH INSURANCE FOR NANNIES -- AN UPDATE

What Should a Nanny Interested in Obtaining Health Insurance Do?
By Richard A. Eisenberg, CLUY, ChFC, CLTC of Eisenberg Associates

Health insurance options for nannies as they exist right now.

Everyone interested in health insurance has been following the national debate on health reform. Nannies have a special interest in the outcome, since almost all nannies that obtain health insurance purchase it as individual policies.

Regardless of the outcome on national health reform, it will be many years before those possible reforms take place. We need to review options for nannies as they exist right now. There are several states that have moved to guarantee issue. Those states are Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maine, and Vermont. Connecticut has just passed new legislation.

What this means is that individuals can obtain health insurance without answering medical questions. There still could be restrictions on pre-existing conditions. However, eventually all pre-existing conditions are covered. In Massachusetts, pre-existing conditions are covered right away.

In the rest of the country, there is a choice between short term and permanent coverage. Short term never covers pre-existing conditions or routine checkups, but can be very inexpensive. Permanent plans need to be applied for and there can be exclusions or extra costs. Once obtained, any new conditions are covered. The cost is usually higher than short term plans.

So what should a nanny that is intersted in obtaining health insurance do? Since most nannies work in a place other than their permanent home, they should deal with a national insurance agency that understands the rules in all states. They need to understand all their options including what the employer is willing to do. It has become much more common for families to pay part or all of the cost of insurance for nannies. There might even be some tax advantages.

Richard Eisenberg is the principal of Eisenberg Associates and has been working with nannies since 1975. He and his staff can work with nannies across the country. He can be reached at (800) 777-5769 or nanny@eisenbergassociates.com.


If you work as a nanny do you have health insurance?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article and good advice but I still can't afford health insurance. I can't afford going to the doctor for antibiotics. I am a nanny making $13 an hour how can I be expected to afford any current plan? It currently costs me $125 just for the office visit. Then, prescriptions or tests cost more.
If the parents don't provide it in a raise or as a benefit I won't have insurance and currently I have neither.
I am really happy for the nannies that get such benefits and would love advice on how to bring the topic up with my employers.

Anonymous said...

For the nanny that commented above I just want to mention that there probably are some health insurance plans you can afford if you contact the right person and I assume that is why the author wrote the article so you will contact him because he has experience working in the field.

Cindy

Anonymous said...

The family I work for does provide me with health insurance. It seems like I am one of the few from comments on blog but we will see the results of the poll above soon.

Anyway, I suggest nannies write it in their contract before starting the job. I think it is totally ok to ask for this as a benefit. It is also a good time to ask for benefits for the annual raise. Have the money for hte raise go towards benefits.

Tamara Highland Park

Anonymous said...

I can't understand how nannies that read this blog (tend to be professional career nannies not just temping until better job comes around) wouldn't have health insurance. I thought those who subscribe are the best nannnies you see over and over again and nanny industry events. Certainly they have read this publication and know how to ask for health insurance by now. I am surprised that experience nannies would not insiste on this tax free benefit.

Yes I have health insurance benefits Nanny from Bedford New Hampshire

Anne Stephanie Cruz said...

It is high time that the Nanny is recognized as a legitimate and key unit in hiring household staff. Mandatory benefits such as health insurance should be provided to ensure that the health and wellness state of the nanny is at optimal condition. Making sure that you provide health benefits for the nanny protects your children from the possibility of cross contamination or getting sick because the Nanny was not provided with proper healthcare.

Anonymous said...

My only argument to Ms Cruz is that typical parents cannot afford to do all that.

I am a nanny and want health insurance for all nannies too, don't get me wrong, but realty now is that parents can only afford so much.

I know that's why my mom stayed home and raised me and my siblings -- it didn't make sense to work and give all the earnings to the caregiver.

Of course there are many affluent parents too. But I think the average working parent(s) simply can't afford to give their caregiver's health insurance.

Another reason public option might be best option...

Anne Stephanie Cruz said...

Yes I have to agree with you on the reality that not many parents can afford to enstate their own private health care enrollment for the nanny. I think that this is best addressed by the government creating a more proactive and agressive healthcare assimilation package for nannies. This not only acknowledges them as a contributing element and a workforce unit but balances the need for health provisions between private employers and government duty.

ane stephanie cruz said...

can't understand how nannies that read this blog (tend to be professional career nannies not just temping until better job comes around) wouldn't have health insurance. I thought those who subscribe are the best nannnies you see over and over again and nanny industry events. Certainly they have read this publication and know how to ask for health insurance by now. I am surprised that experience nannies would not insiste on this tax free benefit.

Yes I have health insurance benefits Nanny from Bedford New Hampshire - I have to revert you to the reality of the situation. Not every nanny in every state will be lucky enough to have the same privilidges that were fortunately bestowed upon you. It is precisely the reason why this forum has been created to raise awareness and even out the playing field for nannies and other care providers in the country.

Anne Stephanie Cruz said...

As the government debate over the legislative merits of providing healthcare appropriation for secondary care givers in the home such as nannies and au pairs, the reality that there is an inequality of compensation and just labor adequacies for these jobs is unraveling. Let’s face it, it has been a long time since anyone has actually stood up and recognized the performance and holistic contributions that a secondary care provider has on the development of a child.

anne stephanie cruz said...

I admit it can be hard to put a price tag on intangible aspects of a person’s job such as how much love or concern a person puts in, but this is exactly the bread and butter of being a nanny. A secondary care providers performance is based on their child rearing contributions, and the government should reinforce the value that a family places on it by acknowledging legitimate labor claims for this working group and appropriate more aggressive health care provisions for them.

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