Finances & Money

How to Pay for Home Care

Before discussing home care, it’s a good idea to sit down with family members and talk about what types of help are needed and how often. Home care and home health care are two different types of services. They can be expensive and there’s no reason to pay for services you really don’t need. In addition, these types of services are offered by a wide variety of agencies and individuals.

Prices for home care vary

It’s important to do your research and make sure you’re dealing with a reputable person or business. Compare prices. One survey found that the prices for the same home care services varied by 50 percent in just one community. Paying more doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more for your money.

Home care versus home health care

Another thing to remember is that home care and home health care are two different things. Home care consists of things like helping an individual with bathing, dressing, transportation, personal hygiene, and meals. Home health care leans more toward checking pulse, temperature and respiration. This type of work is generally performed by a skilled nurse.

Special care

If you have a special needs person with Alzheimer’s or Cerebral Palsy, then be sure to say so right up front. Some nurses and agencies are not equipped and trained to deal with illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

Nationwide care costs

Across the nation, the average cost for home care, such as cleaning and preparing meals is $20 per hour. This varies by states though. In larger cities, expect to pay more than in smaller towns. Home health care aides average about $25 per hour nationwide. Registered nurses charge approximately twice that much.

With so much of the population now getting older, there are a great many choices out there regardless of what you need. The internet lets you look across a wide range of services. You can find reviews as well. With so many home care agencies now, you should have abundant choices. Each community typically has a good array of skilled individuals as well, like nurses and nurse’s aides.

If you know that you’ll be needing care for a loved one for an extended period, some agencies will offer flat rates for monthly services. Alzheimer’s and dementia patients do require more care than most others. They must often be watched carefully so that they don’t inadvertently harm themselves or someone else.

Medicare and private insurance

One of the first places that most people start their search is with Medicare. They do provide home health care services for both short-term and long-term care. But they do not provide simple home care services like cleaning and preparing meals.

If you need non-medical help, there is currently no coverage offered through Medicare or Medicare Supplemental polices. However, home health care is covered by Medicare when it is deemed medically necessary. There are a few restrictions. In most cases, the individual must be classified as “homebound”. This is someone who needs assistance to leave their home. If you have private insurance, then these rules and regulations may change.

Each policy will stipulate what types of health care are covered, how much the deductible is and how long the insurance company will pay. There are almost always limits to the amount you are allowed to spend in one calendar year. Some policies require that the patient meets certain standards before they will qualify for help.

Services offered by Medicaid

For low income people, Medicaid offers home health care assistance and home care services. Each state has its own specific eligibility requirements, but Medicaid can help someone continue to live in their own home. That is the goal since nursing home care is so expensive these days. You might be able to combine the benefits offered through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance to allow your loved one to age in place. This is true for many individuals with a wide range of health care issues.

Medicaid’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) provide a good range of both home care and health care services. The types of services available and the requirements can vary. In most states, these are entitlement programs with a long waiting list.

State-funded programs

Each state has its own individual programs for home care and home health care. There are usually a good variety of Veterans Programs as well for those who’ve served in the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs can help veterans who need additional assistance. They may be able to provide financial assistance for those who simply cannot afford home care.


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Susan Paige

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