Many seniors prefer to remain at home instead of moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home. Home healthcare provides support with daily living tasks such as chores and going to the store or taking care of a home. This type of care is often less expensive than living in a facility, and it is sometimes possible to get this care through Medicare and Medicaid.
Home healthcare is provided by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapists, or other healthcare professionals skilled in the care many seniors need to stay at home. The average cost of home healthcare is approximately $19 hour according to the Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey; however, in this area, it tends to be more expensive. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid report the most common method of paying for home healthcare is through Medicare. Medicaid is another option. Many seniors also pay for home healthcare out of pocket. All these resources help seniors remain independent at home rather than pay the higher cost of a nursing home, which can be expensive and unaffordable for many seniors on a fixed income.
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According to Medicare, seniors can get help for in-home care for services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology services, medical social services, and home health aides for daily living tasks. A doctor must first order these services for the senior, and then a home healthcare agency coordinates the services. There are some services Medicare will not pay for, such as meal delivery, 24-hour care, or homemaker services. There are also guidelines on how someone may receive these services. To qualify, the senior must:
- Be enrolled in Medicare A or Medicare B
- Receive treatment by a doctor and must be getting services through a treatment plan reviewed by a doctor
- Have a doctor certify the senior needs intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology services,
- Be homebound
- Be able to remain independent and not need more than part-time skilled nursing care.
In most cases, when these basic conditions are met, there is no cost or very little cost for home healthcare unless there are costs not covered by Medicaire
Medicaid also provides services for seniors living at home. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid explain that Medicaid is funded by both the state and federal government, and each state has varying Medicaid plans. Getting Medicaid coverage for home health care can be challenging because it is necessary to understand how to access the right care. Every state has specific guidelines for Medicaid. Medicaid state plans, also known as regular Medicaid, will pay for in-home services. To qualify for Medicaid, there are limits on income and assets as defined by Medicaid. If the senior meets the Medicaid guidelines, it is also possible to use Medicaid benefits to compensate a family member for taking care of a senior.
Seniors can receive in-home care through both Medicare and Medicaid. Reviewing the guidelines for each program before a senior needs care can help in planning for future in-home care services.
To ensure that your loved one is getting the care they need, whether that be at home or at a nursing home, contact our compassionate life care planning team at 856-857-6007. We will create a personalized life care plan that takes into consideration your loved one’s various needs and priorities and can walk you through your many options to help find public and private sources to pay for good long term care.