Public News Service | September 14, 2023

“Home care aides in Washington state are seeing the benefits of health coverage for their kids.

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 775 who take care of people at home now have access to health care for their dependents.

For caregiver Dani Rice, this is a big deal. Her son didn’t have health insurance for five years, because it was unaffordable for Rice and her husband.

She said there were scary moments during that time, including when he came home from school with a bloody nose.

“Now that we actually have health insurance, it’s a massive relief off of our shoulders,” said Rice, “because COVID’s not going away and my son’s not getting any less clumsy [laughs].”

Rice has coverage for her younger son as well.

At-home caregivers who work at least 120 hours a month have access to medical and dental coverage for kids for $100 a month. About 1,400 kids have been enrolled in the program so far.

Adam Glickman, the secretary treasurer for SEIU 775, said the union heard from members that this was a pressing need.

“It seemed like it was becoming increasingly difficult,” said Glickman, “to find doctors, to find dentists, to really get good coverage under Apple Health, under Medicaid.”

Rice said this is important because many people in the industry are parents.

“The vast majority of us either are just on the edge where we don’t qualify for assistance anymore, or do need help with affordable health insurance,” said Rice. “And so, this has been a massive benefit for everyone.””

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