Study of Maine's direct care workforce: Wages, health coverage, and a worker registry. Report to the 123rd Maine legislature
Maine Department of Health and Human Services.. (2007). Study of Maine's direct care workforce: Wages, health coverage, and a worker registry. Report to the 123rd Maine legislature. Maine: . Retrieved 39202 from http://maine.gov/dhhs/bea s/Maine_Direct_Care_Workf orce_Report_2007.pdf
A growing body of empirical evidence indicates that adequate wages and affordable, accessible health insurance play a critical role in recruiting and retaining a competent and stable direct care workforce. But median wages for Maine's direct care workers are just over the federal poverty level and have not kept pace with inflation, making them uncompetitive with other entry level jobs. In fact, Maine lags behind all other New England states in their median wages for frontline direct care occupations.
In addition, many Maine direct care workers are uninsured, either because health coverage is not offered by their employers (particularly in home care) or because their income is too low to enroll in their employers' plan if there are copays. The Maine Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor estimate that it would cost $3 million in state dollars to raise to $8.50 per hour all direct care workers' wages in MaineCare and state funded long-term care programs, and $6 million to raise them to $10.00. These estimates include a 2% increase for workers currently making above these two wage floors, plus associated employer cost increases in FICA, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation (abstract from p. 1 of report).