Consumer Alert: Caregiving support is being offered as an employee benefit

Consumer Alert: Caregiving support as an employee benefit

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — One in five. That’s the number of employees who are taking care of a friend or family member. And on average, those caregivers spend more than 20 hours a week on caregiving responsibilities. 

According to the New York State Office for the Aging, 67 percent of caregivers say they’ve missed work and 58 percent say there are times they’re not been able to concentrate at work because of their caregiving responsibilities. And in a national survey by Harris poll and CVS health, 13 percent of caregivers say they were forced to quit their jobs.

The costs of caregiving are extraordinary. But I’ve discovered a burgeoning industry of companies providing caregiver support as part of employee benefit packages or insurance benefits. Those companies provide coaching and advice, connect caregivers with resources, and schedule those resources.

“We have expertise and a database that we’ve built to be able to find the right resources,” said Dave Jacobs, the CEO of Homethrive. “Sometimes we have to do our own investigation. but we know the questions to ask and where to look. And we would also try to find out if you were caregiving for a loved one, we’d understand what their coverage was and what benefits are offered.” 

Homethrive provides its services for businesses across the country as well as health insurance members of Cigna, Aetna, BCBS Kansas, Thrivent and ClareMedica.

The New York State Office for the Aging also has a number of resources for caregivers, from transportation assistance to respite care.