10 Investigates: Home Health Aides Face Poverty For The Holidays


Home Healthcare aides face utility shut-offs and car re-possessions this holiday season. That's because some say they're not getting paid for several weeks. 

10 Investigates first revealed this problem in August.

Stephanie Haughn requires near constant care from a team of home health aides.

Stephanie's mother Sheryl Haughn said, "These aides are like family members to us. They take care of our daughter who is disabled. She can't even brush her own teeth."

Michele Lynn cares for the Haughn family, but she cannot care for her own.  Despite working 48 hours a week, Michele tells 10 Investigates that she's been without regular paychecks since this summer.

"Your bills get disconnected, notices left and right,” Lynn adds her car was repossessed.

Home health aide Cecilia Wenjah also works at the Haughn home. Wenjah said, “I can't keep up with my bills. I can't feed my children.”

Home health Aides say they never had problems getting regularly paid when the state of Ohio ran Medicaid. But when the state privatized the system, creating "MyCare Ohio," health care providers complained that private insurance companies were delaying their payments. 

Now, 10 Investigates is hearing complaints that the checks are coming, just not regularly for some.

Home health aides use credit cards and pawn belongings to make ends meet. Even when their paychecks come in, they say it's not enough to repair the financial damage.

"Once you fall behind, you're always behind. You can't pull back out," said Lynn.

The State of Ohio continues to defend the new MyCare Ohio effort.

They add a vast majority of home health aides are paid on time. (READ THE REPORT

But as 10TV first reported September,  those numbers only reflect what are called “clean claims.” Any mistakes by home health aides are not counted in the state’s numbers. Insurance companies say they are training home health aides to use their new billing systems.

Lynn and Wenjah’s insurance company, Aetna, tells 10 Investigates they are paying health aides within the state mandated deadline of 30 days. In Michele's case, they pledge to immediately process all 6 of her outstanding claims and send a check as soon as possible.

State Senator Charleta Tavares’s office says they continue to receive similar complaints from home health aides. Senator Tavares said September that insurance companies should face fines for any payment delays.

If you our your family's caregiver isn't being paid on time let us know by emailing Nathan.Baca@10tv.com.