Home health care provides an alternative to nursing home or hospital care for some people. Patients can receive assistance with personal care, skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy and social services in the comfort of the own homes. While home health care may be costly, it’s usually less costly than nursing home or hospital care.
Medicare pays for some home health care services under specific circumstances. For instance, Medicare pays for a home health care nurse when a patient requires skilled nursing care, such as the administration of intravenous medications or dressing changes. Medicare pays for a home health aide when a patient requires assistance with personal care but only pays for assistance with personal care, like bathing and dressing. Medicare will not pay for a home health aide to assist with things like housekeeping or meal preparation.
Medicaid provides health insurance for some people with low incomes, including elderly and disabled people that meet income guidelines. Medicaid pays for home health care when medically necessary, including a home health care nurse, a home health aide and therapists. Medicaid also offers a waiver program that pays for additional home health care hours if that will prevent a person from needing to be admitted to a nursing home (thus saving Medicaid money). If you need home health care but have difficulty paying for it, check with the agency that administers Medicaid in the county in which you live to find out if you might qualify.
Some health insurance policies pay for home health care services but coverage varies from policy to policy. Contact your health insurance company to find out what your policy covers and if you must pay a portion of the cost.
You have the option of paying for home health care services yourself. The cost varies depending on your geographical location and the services you require. According to the PBS Caregiver’s Handbook, the average hourly rate for a home health aide was $32 in 2008. Other home health care professionals, like registered nurses and physical therapists, charge more. If you pay for services yourself, some agencies may agree to make special payment arrangements for you if you ask.
Medicare.gov. http://www.medicare.gov/longtermcare/static/HomeCare.asp. Types of Long-Term Care.
National Association for Home Health Care and Hospice. http://www.nahc.org/facts/08HC_Stats.pdf. Basic Statistics About Home Care.
PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringforyourparents/handbook/homecare/payingfor.html. Caregiver’s Handbook.