By Kristin Rowan, Editor

Republican and Democratic leaders joined forces to introduce the Credit for Caring Act (S. 3702, H.R. 7165) in support of family caregivers across the country. Family caregivers are those who are caring for a family member but are not nurses or employees of any home care agency. They are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid payments, nor is there an employer paying them for the endless hours of support they provide. Family caregivers are often under a lot of emotional and financial stress. Some have full-time jobs in addition to the care provide. Others are caring for more than one family member, sometimes in different homes.

The Credit for Caring Act, a bipartisan effort to recognize the personal cost to family caregivers with a $5,000 federal tax credit for eligible working family caregivers. As is generally the case with government intercession, the “eligible” part will exclude many family caregivers. From

“This bill allows an eligible caregiver a tax credit of up to $5,000 for 30% of the cost of long-term care expenses that exceed $2,000 in a taxable year. The bill defines eligible caregiver as an individual who has earned income for the taxable year in excess of $7,500 and pays or incurs expenses for providing care to a spouse or other dependent relative with long-term care needs.”

The bill also includes the caveat that eligible caregivers must incur qualified expenses, limited to goods, services, and supports. The language excludes the time and energy a family caregiver expends, essentially limiting the tax credit to repayment of money paid out of pocket for care that should have been covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private health insurance, but isn’t. The cost of a direct care giver is included in eligible expenses, but doesn’t consider the family caregiver to be one.

As I break down the math in my head, I come up with this:

A tax credit of $5,000 is received if the caregiver has spent $16,600 in the previous year (5,000/.3). This leaves a total out of pocket amount of $11,100. Supportive home care services average $30/hour. $16,660 is equivalent to 555 hours of non-medical home care. That’s roughly 10 hours per week or 1-1/2 hours per day. This doesn’t include the costs for DME, doctor visits, lost wages from time off work, medication, or any of the other eligible expenses included in the bill.

This is getting us one step closer to paying for supportive in-home care and palliative care services, but I don’t think it goes far enough. An under-served, under-paid population who makes $7,500 per year cannot afford $16,000 in out-of-pocket expenses in order to qualify for the maximum tax credit. Once this bill is (hopefully) passed, we should move on to including additional services in the Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement model. The Rowan Report joins NAHC in its support of the Credit for Caring Act and urges you to reach out to your representatives to urge them to support the passing of the bill.

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Kristin Rowan

Kristin Rowan has been working at Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Report since 2008. She has a master’s degree in business administration and marketing and runs Girard Marketing Group, a multi-faceted boutique marketing firm specializing in event planning, sales, and marketing strategy. She has recently taken on the role of Editor of The Rowan Report and will add her voice to current Home Care topics as well as marketing tips for home care agencies. Connect with Kristin directly or

©2024 by The Rowan Report, Peoria, AZ. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Healthcare at Home: The Rowan One copy may be printed for personal use: further reproduction by permission only.

 Read the article and statement from NAHC here

Read the full text of the bills: H.R. 3321 and S. 3702

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