Home care allows older Americans to age in place at home with a wide range of care available, from companionship to personal care assistance and skilled medical care. Learning the cost of home care and coverage options can help you determine if home care will suit your retirement needs.
- Written by Lindsey Crossmier
Lindsey Crossmier is an accomplished writer with experience working for The Florida Review and Bookstar PR. As a financial writer, she covers Medicare, life insurance and dental insurance topics for RetireGuide. Research-based data drives her work.Read More
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- Reviewed By Bart Astor
- Published: June 6, 2022
- Updated: May 23, 2023
- 6 min read time
- This page features 7 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
What Is Home Care?
Home care is defined as services and assistance provided in your own home, typically for older Americans or those who suffer from a disability or chronic injury. Most who are looking into home care wish to age in place, staying in their home instead of moving into a different senior housing option.
Majority of home care options do not include skilled medical care. Home care is most known for assistance with activities of daily living, housekeeping, transportation or cooking.
Types of Home Care
There are three types of home care — companion care, home health care and personal care. Know that home health care is the only option that offers skilled medical services. Understanding the services offered by each type of home care can help you decide which type is best for you or your loved one.
Companion care battles isolation and offers social support. Companion caregivers are not licensed for medical care. The main function of companion care is to provide you with someone to bond with if you are homebound.
This type of home care is beneficial for older Americans who don’t have any family nearby and feel isolated from the world. Having a companion to engage with in hobbies or provide transportation would likely improve their everyday life.
On average, companion caregivers visit a home several times a week for a few hours.
This type of home care doesn’t typically assist with daily activities of living, such as assistance with bathing, mobility or toileting. If you require this level of care, personal care may be a better option.
Personal care home care focuses on your hygiene, nutritional health and household chores. Personal caregivers are not licensed for any type of medical care.
This type of home care focuses on assisting you with your daily tasks of living, such as bathing, mobility and restroom trips. Cleaning, cooking and transportation are also included.
Note that this option is typically part-time help with several visits per week. If you require 24-hour personal care, then you should consider an assisted living facility.
What Services Are Provided by Home Care Professionals?
While there is some overlap on several of the home care types, there are different purposes and services for each. Refer to the chart below to determine which services you require to help you decide which type of home care would best suit your lifestyle needs.
|Personal Care||Home Health Care||Companion Care|
Before trying to find home care near you, determine what level of care and services are needed.
How to Find Home Care?
Make sure you use reputable sources when looking for home care services. Medicare’s home health online tool can help you find home health agencies. You will need to provide your zip code, then Medicare’s tool will generate a list of agencies nearby along with a quality rating and patient survey rating for each.
AARP provides a list of questions to ask. These questions can help ensure you are getting the best level of care.
How Much Does Home Care Cost?
The non-medical home care options — personal and companion care — are less expensive compared to home health care. Prices will range slightly depending on the services you need and the state you live in.
|Type of Home Care||Cost Per Hour||Hours Worked Per Week||Monthly Cost|
|Personal and Companion Care||$25||20||$2,000|
The cost analysis above is based on a part-time home caregiver. This is because part-time caregiving is the most common option for two reasons.
One is that most non-medical home caregivers will not be required for long periods of time, since they are only helping with household tasks, companionship or personal care.
The other reason is because Medicare only offers coverage for part-time home health care. If you require full-time home health care, then it is not covered by Medicare and costs may double. For example, if you were to need home health care for 40 hours a week, it would cost you about $4,160 per month.
Does Medicare and Medicaid Cover Home Care?
Both Medicare and Medicaid have coverage options for home care. Coverage will vary based on the type of home care you require and the services you need.
Know that there are also eligibility requirements for both options, so find out which one you qualify for before choosing a route.
Medicare will only cover some cases of home health care — not companion or personal care. Services that are covered include skilled nursing care, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Home health care is covered under Original Medicare, which include Parts A & B, or Medicare Advantage, which is commonly referred to as Part C.
If you are qualified for home health care, then you will pay $0 for home health care services. For Medicare-covered equipment, you will only pay 20% of the full amount after you meet your Part B deductible.
To qualify, a doctor must confirm that you require home health care assistance and that you are homebound. You can only require services for part-time care, not 24-hour care.
If you require 24-hour care, then you should consider a different senior housing option. Compare the list below to find out what is and isn’t covered by Medicare.
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Durable medical equipment
- Part-time skilled nursing care
- Speech language pathology treatment
- Injectable drugs
- Medical supplies for home usage
- 24-hour care
- Meal services
- Homemaker services
- Assistance with daily activities of living
According to an article from Home Health Care News, the number of Medicare Advantage plans that offer home health care benefits has doubled in the last year and is expected to continue growing in the coming years.
If you qualify for Medicaid, you will likely be reimbursed for home care services from agencies that participate in Medicaid. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid has coverage options for both home health care and personal health care. However, Medicaid does not cover companion home care.
Know that Medicaid’s coverage varies by state. The Kaiser Family Foundation provides an information table that shows home care coverage for each state.
Medicaid is known to cover activities of daily living, along with transportation, housework, meal preparation and money management.
- Care must be medically necessary and documented
- Care must be provided by a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or attending physician
7 Cited Research Articles
- Famakinwa, J. (2021, December 19). 2022 Home Care Executive Forecast: ‘Buckle Up for A Wild Ride. Retrieved from https://homehealthcarenews.com/2021/12/2022-home-care-executive-forecast-buckle-up-for-a-wild-ride/
- Durning, M. (2019, August 6). The Benefits of Hiring a Companion For An Older Adult. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/08/06/the-benefits-of-hiring-a-companion-for-an-older-adult/?sh=6170774721c7
- The American Association of Retired Persons. (2007). Choosing an Agency for In-Home Care. Retrieved from https://assets.aarp.org/external_sites/caregiving/checklists/checklist_inHomeCare.html
- U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Home Health Services. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/home-health-services
- Home Care. (n.d.). How Much Does 24/7 In-Home Care Cost? Retrieved from https://www.homecare.org/the-cost-of-24-7-in-home-care/
- Agency for Health Care Administration. (n.d.). Medicaid Home Health Services. Retrieved from https://ahca.myflorida.com/Medicaid/home_health/services.shtml
- Agency for Health Care Administration. (n.d.). Florida Medicaid’s Covered Services and HCBS Waivers. Retrieved from https://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/Policy_and_Quality/Policy/behavioral_health_coverage/spec_health_serv/Home_Health.shtml
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