What is the difference between Home Care and Home Health Care?
Home care is a service provided in your home. Home care may include light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and companion supervision.
Home Health Care is a service provided in your home that may include all home care duties as well as medical care such as physical or occupational therapy or personal care such as bathing and dressing. Care providers have received some type of formal medical training. This is a very important distinction between them.
There are many different Home Care & Home Health Care agencies in each state. Check with your State Unit on Aging for listings. Hiring someone from the newspaper or an online ad is strongly discouraged due to the risk of elder abuse and elder scams. Agency staff have undergone some type of training, criminal background checks and are supervised.
Costs and Coverage
Private in home services can cost anywhere between $10-$25 per hour or more through a home care agency. If you have been successful at Financial Planning cost may not be an issue. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers eligible home health services as long as you meet specific criteria. Medicare does NOT pay for long term or ongoing home care.
Quick Reference Basics for Medicare Homecare
- Doctors order for skilled nursing, or physical therapy is required
- Doctor must certify that you are homebound (Adult Day Care is acceptable)
- Home Care provider Agency must be Medicare Certified
- Does NOT cover personal care if that is the only care you need
- Does NOT cover ongoing services
If you require in home care that does NOT meet Medicare guidelines and/or you do not have the money to pay privately you may be eligible for your states Medicaid program. Medicaid covers ongoing Home Health Care as well as community based services for people who are eligible. Each state determines who is eligible as well as what services are covered. You can check you eligibility by going to your local Senior Center or contacting your State Unit on Aging.
Why Should I Care?
Home Care may be the added assistance needed to remain safely at home.
Short term Home Health Care may be covered under Medicare.
If eligible, Medicaid may continue your Home Care for as long as you need it.