People Turn To Unregulated Market for Home Care
Many middle-class families facing ongoing home-care expenses have begun to hire in-home long-term care aides through the "gray market," the New York Times reports.
The gray market is an "over-the-back-fence network of women," than can pose risks because aides hired through the gray market are "usually untrained, unscreened and unsupervised," according to the Times.
However, the aides are more affordable than bonded, insured and certified aides hired through agencies. Aides hired through the gray market might cost about $12 per hour, compared with about $20 per hour for those hired through agencies.
In addition, many families who hire aides through the gray market "cite the loyalty of employees and their ability to work unfettered by regulations," the Times reports.
Meanwhile, traditional home health care agencies have begun "opening divisions geared toward clients who must pay their own way," and "upscale agencies providing trained aides are proliferating solely for the private-pay market, as are national chains with more modest services -- and more reasonable prices," according to the Times.
However, some policy experts have raised concerns that the home health care industry could prioritize profit over quality (Gross, New York Times, 3/1).