New Service Provides Comprehensive Support For Caregivers
April 10, 2014
PITTSBURGH – A new service will help to address a question that has long confronted volunteer adult caregivers: Who will care for the caregivers while they are providing care?
The answer is CaregiverHQ, a new comprehensive caregiver support system developed by Highmark Inc. that is designed to provide support, guidance, resources and encouragement for caregivers. CaregiverHQ is not a health plan benefit; it is available on a subscription basis to any consumer — with or without insurance — for a low monthly fee. Initially, it will be marketed in Western Pennsylvania.
According to a Pew Research Center study, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population provides care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly family member or friend. These volunteer caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care. With the country's elderly population expected to increase by 35 percent throughout the next decade, and reach 72 million by 2030, caregivers will be called on to play a greater role in the care of their loved ones well into the foreseeable future.
"Stress is the biggest challenge caregivers face because of the struggle to balance their role as caregiver with other work and life obligations," said Philip Tanner, director of CaregiverHQ. "They need emotional and logistical support as they deal with a range of challenges. So we asked: how do we help strengthen them so that they remain a positive resource to the people for whom they are caring?"
The key feature of CaregiverHQ is the personal Care Coach. Meeting with caregivers over the phone, this licensed health professional creates a customized care plan to help caregivers set and meet specific goals as well as provide emotional support. The personal Care Coach also helps to identify service providers from a network researched by CaregiverHQ so caregivers can feel confident when selecting a provider for a variety of needs such as in-home care, transportation, meals, legal and financial services.
"The majority of the solutions in the market are geared toward the recipient of care, with the caregiver often being overlooked," said Tanner. "The current options sometimes offer too much information, which can overwhelm the caregiver and only add to their already high levels of stress.
"And for people new to the role of caregiver, the unknown is a huge concern," added Tanner. "They don't even know where to start. CaregiverHQ helps to make sense of the information, providing caregivers with confidence and peace of mind so that they can lead more balanced lives — and be better caregivers."
For more information about CaregiverHQ, visit www.Caregiver-HQ.com.
Highmark's Business Innovation and Development department launched CaregiverHQ to address a market demand for a service that did not exist. The Business Innovation and Development department focuses on creating growth opportunities for Highmark by developing new and innovative products, services and business models that are beyond the company's traditional businesses.
"Our department helps Highmark find solutions to problems through innovative technologies and partnerships," said Paul Puopolo, Highmark vice president of business innovation and development. "We collaborate and build relationships both internally and externally to understand business goals and objectives to deliver value for Highmark and its customers. CaregiverHQ is an original concept that was created from our process."
About Highmark Inc.
Highmark Inc. is among the largest health insurers in the United States and the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated company. Highmark and its diversified businesses and affiliates operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5.2 million members. Its diversified health businesses serve group customer and individual health needs across the United States through dental insurance, vision care and other related health businesses. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans. For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.