Home health care through Medicare

You never know when you or a loved one might need care at home. Here’s what you need to know about Medicare home health care.

A few years ago, my neighbors were in a car accident. Nothing too serious, thank goodness. They were, however, out of commission for a few weeks. As both were in their 80s and neither one able to drive during recovery, they needed home care – and a little extra help around the house.

It’s important to plan for your health care needs, but sometimes life throws unexpected curve balls. And when that happens, you’ll need to know what’s covered.  Fortunately, there are ways you and your loved ones can get the necessary care at home. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s home health care?

It’s a range of health care services given in your home for an illness or injury. Things like:

Covered by Medicare

  • Skilled Nursing care (when given on a part-time or intermittent basis)
  • Medical social services (counseling, help finding community resources)
  • Medical supplies (wound dressings)
  • Necessary durable medical equipment (walker, wheelchair, hospital bed)
  • Physical, occupational and speech language therapy

All Medicare-covered home health care services (like those listed above) are covered at 100 percent if they’re needed to treat your injury. You’ll have to pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost for durable medical equipment.

Not covered by Medicare

  • 24-hour-a-day care at home
  • Meal delivery
  • Homemaker services (help with shopping, cleaning, laundry) 
  • Personal or custodial care (help with bathing, dressing, using the bathroom)

If you have a private Medicare health plan, check with your plan to see which home health care services are covered.

Who’s eligible?

Anyone who has Medicare Parts A and B and when all these statements are true:

  • Your doctor says you need at least one of the following services at home (intermittent skilled nursing care, physical, speech-language or continued occupational therapy)
  • You have a care plan that your doc reviews regularly
  • Your doc confirms that you’re homebound
  • You’re being cared for by a Medicare-certified home health agency
  • You’re expected to improve within a reasonable period of time or you need a skilled therapist to improve your condition

My neighbors ended up needing a few weeks of physical therapy and homemaker services. Thanks to Medicare and some awesome care-givers, they were back to doing what they love a few weeks later. Share this post with friends or family who might be looking for home health care options.