What would this plan do?

In 2017, Hawai‘i State legislators will introduce bills that would establish the Kupuna Caregivers program.  Kupuna Caregivers is intended to help provide additional assistance to the working caregiver.  In this way, a caregiver does not have to choose between staying fully employed or providing adequate care for their loved one.

This program isn’t meant to cover a stay in a long-term care facility like a nursing home or an assisted living home. This bill would fund up to $70 a day for the respite that working family caregivers need in order to stay active in the workforce while caring for their kupuna at home. 

Why do we need this in Hawai‘i?

When the caregiver is working full-time, adding care duties to the obligations of a job outside the house brings additional personal strain for the caregiver. Care duties can have an effect on job performance, too: arriving late after helping an elder get settled or off to daycare, reducing hours at work to help take care of a kupuna, or turning down a promotion because of caregiving duties at home. 

Ninety percent of people over age 65 would prefer to remain stay in their homes as long as possible, and studies show that health outcomes are significantly improved when people recuperate at home versus in a hospital or long-term external care facility. Supporting home caregiving means Hawai‘i can honor the wishes of our seniors, improve their health outcomes, and reduce the cost of long-term care for both family caregivers and the state. 

What kind of services would Kupuna Caregivers provide? 

The program’s aim is to provide additional helpers to assist caregivers. This program could help pay for a home care aide for a couple of hours, transportation to adult day care or adult day health, or chore and homemaking services. It will focus on meeting the needs of each individual family. 

I thought Medicare paid for this. Isn’t there already a government program for this?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover most long-term care costs outside of a nursing facility, like hiring a home care aide or respite care. 

Who would administer the program? 

The program will be delivered by the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) of the County Area Aging Agencies (AAAs), and administered by the Executive Office on Aging, attached to the Department of Health. By using an already existing infrastructure, we can reduce the startup costs and get the program working quickly for local families. 

How does this differ from the Kupuna Care program?

The Kupuna Caregivers does not replace the Kupuna Care program —it increases support to families with long-term care needs. Unlike the Kupuna Care program, Kupuna Caregivers is a form of service intended to help caregivers stay in the labor force while also ensuring families receive the care they need. Kupuna Caregivers is a new project that builds upon a very successful existing program.

How would we pay for it?

The program would be paid from existing revenues in the general fund. There would be no new taxes created or collected to pay for Kupuna Caregivers. 

Who is eligible? Can people just move to Hawai‘i to get this benefit? 

Kupuna Caregivers will use the Kupuna Care screening process plus the requirement that the caregiver be employed.  Hawai‘i residents, 60 years or older, who have a family caregiver who is employed 30 or more hours a week will be eligible..  

Should Hawai‘i residents still buy private long-term care insurance if this bill passes?

For families who are able to afford long-term care insurance and feel that it is a way to meet their needs, LTCI can be an important option to help provide care. This bill would not prevent anyone from purchasing private insurance to extend the amount of coverage they have.