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If you're like the majority of seniors, you want to stay in your home as long as possible. Home care allows you to do this. It's less expensive than institutional care, such as assisted living and nursing homes. This type of care includes home health care and non-medical care such as assistance with activities of daily living and domestic chores.
Below, you'll find information on how to pay for elderly home care through Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal, state and local programs.
The market for home care is exploding thanks to the wave of baby boomers reaching their golden years and the need for lower-priced alternatives to institutional care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of home health and care aides will expand to more than 1.3 million by 2020, a 70% increase from 2010.
Home health care employees are typically RNs, LPNs, physical therapists, home care aides, occupational therapists and social workers. Home care aides help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and grooming. And they assist with instrumental ADLs such as housekeeping, meal prep, laundry and transportation.
It's no wonder seniors choose home health care over stays in a hospital if they are able to. The average daily cost of a hospital stay is $6,200, while the average cost of home health care is just $135 per visit.
The national average for a one-bedroom in an assisted living facility is $3,450 a month, according to Genworth Financial's Cost of Care Survey. A semi-private room in a nursing home on average costs $207 a day.
On average, a home health aide costs about $19 an hour.
The following is how recipients of home health care pay for services, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:
If you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you may be eligible for home health benefits. All of the following conditions must be met:
In addition, you can only receive benefits for a part-time skilled nurse, which is defined as providing care on fewer than 7 days/week or less than 8 hours each day over a period of 21 days or less. Those needing full-time care (beyond the above)
Because Medicaid administration falls under individual states, the coverage and eligibility will vary. According to federal Medicaid guidelines, home health coverage must include part-time nursing, medical supplies and HCA services. Other services may include physical, occupational and speech therapies.
Veterans may be eligible for the Housebound benefits if:
In addition, your income must be less than $14,978 without dependents or $18,773 with dependents.
Another Veteran's benefit is the Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care. These are services such as case management, assistance with activities of daily living, and other home-related care services.
This is part of the VA Standard Medical Benefits Package for enrolled Veterans who meet the clinical needs for the service.
Other Veterans benefits include Skilled Home Health Care (nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapy, social work), Telehealth Care (phone/video care to track blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, blood oxygen levels, heart/lung sounds), and Home Based Primary Care.
To apply for any of these Veterans benefits, contact your VA social worker/case manager and complete the Application for Extended Care Benefits (VA Form 10-10EC). You can also call VA toll-free at 877-222-VETS (8387).
PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that provides care to seniors in the home. The program provides services such as home care, counseling, meals, transportation, and many other care services.
To be eligible, you must be:
If you have Medicaid, there is no monthly premium for the long-term care portion of the benefit. If you have Medicare, you'll pay a monthly premium to cover the long-term care benefit and a premium for Medicare Part D drugs. There is no deductible or copay for drugs, service or care provided by your PACE team. For more information, go to Medicare's PACE page.
In addition to the above federal resources, each state has an elder affairs/aging department with programs to support seniors, including home health and home care. For example, New Hampshire's ServiceLink is a comprehensive community-based resource for seniors who are looking for home care, housing, financial support, food assistance and many more services.
To find home health and home care in your area, click on your state's link below.
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