Monday, January 07, 2008

In-Home Aides Part 2: Finding An Agency

Previous Posts
Part 1: Do You Have Insurance?

Now that you've discovered if you have appropriate insurance coverage or not, what that coverage is like, and whether you currently qualify to make a claim, it's time to find a care provider.

As soon as the case was activated, our claim was assigned to an account manager. I have to say that I was very happy with the knowledge and service we received from MetLife. She guided me through the process quickly, pleasantly, and got everything set up without any problems.

Bottom line if you have insurance: you have to use a reputable agency that they approve — you can't just hire Aunt Matilda. The account manager gave me the names of three agencies in our area, one of which they had negotiated a discount on the price.

I checked out the Alzheimer's web site and didn't find any recommendations. This would be the perfect question to float at a support group if you attend one. I checked with a neighbor that had gone through this a couple of years ago, and her response was that "they're all the same" and "they're all flakes." (More on that in an upcoming post.)

I built a spreadsheet, as I do for just about everything, and started calling the three agencies that had been recommended by the insurance rep. I asked about rates, availability, qualifications, etc. I also requested that they each send me a brochure and rate card in the mail.

During the course of these phone interviews, I discovered that one agency didn't have anyone "in our area." We are in a suburb. I hadn't considered that transportation would be a factor. We're not way out in the country, mind you, but we "aren't on a bus line." Translation: their aides don't have/can't afford cars. Around here, getting by without a car is a problem. It's not like New York City where you can hop on/hop off mass transit just about anywhere.

In the end, I figured that all of the agencies essentially pull from the same pool of caregivers, so I chose the one recommended by the insurance agency with the discounted rate. It really boils down to the individual that shows up at your door and the price you pay doesn't have anything to do with that. Price doesn't equate to quality.

Next Post
In-Home Aides Part 3: What Pricing Can You Expect?

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