Does Medicare Pay for Caregivers?

Does Medicare Pay for Home Caregivers?

In-home caregiving services provide professionally trained caregivers who come to the home to assist a person with his or her activities of daily living.  These activities include meal preparation, light housekeeping, bathing assistance, dressing assistance, medication reminders, walking assistance, and other household tasks (i.e., laundry, bring out the garbage, bring in the mail, etc.).

Medicare will pay for home care services after a person has been hospitalized and requires assistance at home.  The assistance of an aide covered by Medicare will generally involve bathing and dressing assistance.  In addition to requiring assistance at home, the person must also require rehabilitative services such as, in-home physical therapy, in-home occupational therapy, and/or a visiting nurse.   These services are provided by a Medicare home care agency that would typically be recommended by the hospital or nursing home before the person is discharged to go home.  For ongoing assistance with household tasks such as, laundry, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, and errands the person would need to seek a private duty home care agency (not covered through Medicare).

There are home care agencies that are covered by Medicare, agencies that are covered by Medicaid, those that are covered by long term care insurance, and those that are generally paid for privately or out-of-pocket.  Each type of agency offers something different.

Medicare home care agencies provide home health aides, registered nurses, physical therapists, occupation therapists, and social workers.  These services are provided following a hospitalization or nursing home stay and will last for a period of one to three weeks.

Medicaid home care agencies provide home health aides, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses who assist a person at home with activities of daily living.  Activities of daily living include meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, medication reminders, bathing and dressing assistance, walking assistance, incontinence care, and other general home care needs.  Medicaid is a government funded insurance program that will cover either most or all of the costs of long-term care services.  Long term care services include home care services and nursing homes.

Private duty agencies are paid for either out-of-pocket or through long term care insurance.  They provide registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, home health aides, personal care aides, and companion caregivers who assist a person at home with activities of daily living and companionship.  These agencies may also allow their staff to assist with driving to appointments, running errands, and picking up prescriptions.

The cost of home care services in Suffolk County and Nassau County is currently between $28-$34 per hour.