On Jan. 2, Americans will be able to purchase their first “home health care” coverage, an expanded version of the Affordable Care Act.
The new product, called Home Health Assist, will cover about 10 million consumers nationwide.
Home Health Associates (HHA) will also be available to the public on Jan. 8, with a maximum of 50,000 per household.
HHA covers an array of health-related products and services including mammograms, preventive care, and physical therapy.
The HHA program was created to cover the cost of preventive care that includes screenings, vaccinations, and the diagnosis and treatment of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.
HPA is currently limited to Medicare, but plans are on the horizon to expand coverage to Medicaid and CHIP, the state health insurance program for low-income adults.
In the United States, home health care is seen as the primary source of care for people with physical disabilities.
A 2014 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School found that people who rely on home health services have higher life expectancy, lower rates of chronic diseases such as hypertension, and lower rates for cancer.
HHA, meanwhile, is expected to be a significant expansion of the nation’s home health coverage.
According to a February report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the average cost of a home health aide per capita has gone from $16,827 in 2007 to $18,624 in 2018.
As the nation begins to take full advantage of the new program, some are questioning the effectiveness of HHA.
“There’s no evidence that home health workers are more effective than doctors, nurses, or social workers,” Dr. Mary Schuster, director of the Center for Health and Human Services Research and Education at the University at Albany, told Business Insider.
Dr. Schuster and other experts believe that home care is an expensive and often inefficient way to help people.
“When you’re spending more on home care, it means you’re paying for less care, which means you have less quality of care and lower quality of life,” she said.
One recent study by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists found that home-care workers cost the U.S. economy $8,700 per year, while hospital doctors and dentists cost $2,700, or nearly $7,000 annually.
Some argue that HHA is not necessary for Americans with chronic conditions.
According to a report by a group of leading medical experts, the HHA plan is the best approach for people suffering from chronic conditions that don’t warrant hospitalization.
And it’s not just home health assistants who will be eligible for HHA coverage.
HAA covers home health aides as well as home health educators, home care counselors, and home health specialists.
Despite the growing health care industry, Americans continue to lack access to affordable health insurance.
While HHA offers home health help for people who need it, it may not be as accessible as it could be.
Many people cannot afford to pay $100 a month for coverage, according to the Association of Community Health Centers.
Meanwhile, more and more Americans are choosing to take the plunge into home health and face the costs of home care.
Read more about health care coverage in the United Kingdom, and health care workers in Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil.