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To save time and money, companies roll out caregiving benefits

Published 03/04/2019, 09:49 AM
© Reuters. Best Buy store employees hold a meeting at a Best Buy in Pasadena

By Beth Pinsker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Laura Hirsch of Keller Texas had to find a rehabilitation center to help her father recover from a difficult surgery in September, the caregiving service Cariloop saved her a whole day.

A case manager at Cariloop, based in Richardson, Texas, sorted through more than a dozen rehab facility options, then armed Hirsch with the right questions to ask when choosing among the final contenders.

Hirsch, 55, saved time, and was also grateful to be relieved of the emotional burden of visiting subpar facilities to cross them off the list.

"She saved me all of that," said Hirsch, a private customer who pays $600 a year to Cariloop. The benefit of such a service is now starting to draw many companies to offer caregiving services to employees.

In addition to Cariloop, companies such as Wellthy and Torchlight provide caregiving coordination and support. Others offer short-term backup care for both children and adults, including Care.com's Care@Work program.

Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) signed up with Care@Work after an in-house survey showed the thing employees wanted most was flexibility to care for sick loved ones.

The Care@Work platform gives workers access to backup care from Care.com's vetted providers, along with a senior care concierge service. The employer typically covers the subscription cost and subsidizes per-use care cost, said Sheila Marcelo, founder and CEO of Care.com.

Best Buy also implemented paid caregiver leave of up to four weeks for loved ones. Last week, the Richfield, Minnesota based company announced it is rolling out paid time off for part-time workers.

"People are able to spend the final days of a parent's life with them, and they wouldn't have been able to do that otherwise," said Melanie Moriarty, a senior director in human resources at Best Buy. "We hear so many heartwarming stories."


At News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA)., backup childcare is provided by Bright Horizons, which also includes an eldercare component.

Because that benefit was limited to just the caregiving, the company added access to Wellthy this year for a concierge caregiving approach.

"One of the hardest parts is logistics. If you are suddenly in a position to figure out schedules, doctors, pharmacy and transportation needs - most of it is out of the skill set of the individual," said Marco Diaz, senior vice president, global head of benefits at News Corp.

A service like Wellthy will step in and help a family coordinate caregiving. While an employee can call up with something as simple as finding an allergist, the biggest impact is dealing with complex care situations like dementia, said Wellthy founder and CEO Lindsay Jurist-Rosner.

Much of the coordination is app based, with a shared dashboard family members can access to see things like dosages, appointment times and test results.

Wellthy has been serving corporate customers since 2016 and reaches about 200,000 employees collectively. Private pay costs $300 for six months. An independent care manager can run about $150 per hour, by contrast.


Torchlight, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, assesses its value to 100 or so corporate clients in costs saved through efficiency. Clients include Alameda Health System, Dell, TripAdvisor and AmGen, with the service accessible to more than 1 million employees in the United States. About 10 to 12 percent of employees open a case, the company said.

Case managers can steer clients toward services in the public domain for special needs children, for example, and deal with insurance coverage, said Adam Golderg, Torchlight's founder and CEO. One financial services company estimated it saved about $400,000 in cost offsets, Goldberg added.

Cariloop measures its impact through the time it saves for clients, which they could then use to be more productive at work.

"If it takes us one hour to do something, it would take the client four," said Cariloop CEO Michael Walsh.

So if you have an employee making $75,000 a year and you save them 48 hours of time over six months, that's nearly $2,000. If you are a law firm with partners earning $500 an hour, the cost savings would go way up, Walsh said.

For a family, the emotional help can offer the greatest value. Hirsch is about to go on a cruise, one week she takes every year with friends.

© Reuters. Best Buy store employees hold a meeting at a Best Buy in Pasadena

"If something happens with my father, my daughter can step in, and she can pull up all this information - his will, powers of attorney, medications, anything that is important to him," Hirsch said. "It's huge."

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