Frequently Asked Questions

My mom has Medicare insurance coverage. Does Medicare pay for private duty care?

No, Medicare offers no coverage for private duty care. Private duty care for the most part is paid for directly by the client and/or family. Some clients have long-term care insurance that may offer some coverage for in-home care. Specific coverage amounts and limitations on cost vary greatly from policy to policy. In such cases, Horizons is pleased to assist the client with securing reimbursement from their insurance company for services that we provide.

Are private duty agencies in Alabama licensed by the state?

While some states do have regulatory standards applicable to the private duty industry, no such regulatory requirements currently exist in Alabama. Literally anyone can open a private duty agency in Alabama. This is the number one reason why consumers should do plenty of due diligence before deciding on which agency to employ.

Aren’t all private duty agencies basically the same?

Nothing could be further from the truth. There are in fact substantial differences in private duty agencies. For example, the skill level, experience and expertise of the management team and caregiver staff varies greatly from agency to agency. As with any important purchase, we urge consumers to shop until they find an agency that they feel comfortable with.

Here is another key difference between companies that that consumers must check out. Many private duty companies are the actual employer of the caregivers that would be sent to provide service for you or a loved one. These companies typically have liability insurance and workers compensation insurance that covers their employees while they are working.

However, a registry agency does not actually employ the people that they send to provide service. All of their “employees” are actually independent contractor caregivers. This usually means that the registry provides no liability or workers’ compensation insurance coverage for these independent contractors. This can make you as the payer of their services an accidental employer and legally responsible for paying employment related taxes (as well as fines and penalties that can be accessed in such situations) or for the medical and other costs associated with an independent contractor that is injured on the job while in your home. Needless to say, this can all get expensive very quickly.

Registry agencies also exercise little or no control over the quality of service and care that an independent contractor provides or they run the serious risk of violating the very strict IRS rules that govern independent contractors.

How do I verify the business and workers’ compensation insurance of a private duty company?

Simply ask the company for a proof of insurance document. In most cases, they will provide you with an Acord Certificate (a commonly used document in the insurance industry). This document confirms the amounts and types of coverage that a company has currently in force. When checking insurance coverage, also verify that the company has coverage in place to cover theft and/or fraud committed by their employees. A legitimate company will have all these coverages in force and will have no problem providing you with proof of insurance.

With employees working in many different locations, how does Horizons keep track of the hours that a caregiver works at my home?

Horizons utilizes the latest in technology to maintain accurate time and attendance information for all of our staff. Our employees access our telephone based time and attendance system as they arrive for work at their assigned location. At the end of their shift, they again access our system to clock out via that same telephone at their work location. Employees access our system through a toll-free number so our clients do not incur any expense for the two calls that our employee will make for each shift worked.

How often do I receive an invoice for services from Horizons?

Our invoices are sent to our clients (or their designated payer) on a bi-weekly schedule via U.S. mail or electronically if the client prefers. The caregiver(s) that service our clients do not handle any administrative matters related to client billing and invoices.

Who pays the Horizons caregiver that comes to my home?

If you select Horizons Private Duty Care to provide in-home care for you or a loved one, that individual is employed by our company. We handle the employee’s pay, filing of payroll taxes and all other related administrative matters.

This totally eliminates any liability for payroll taxes, penalties and fines that a client may incur if hiring an independent contractor or paying someone directly that they found in a newspaper ad.

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