The Ask the Expert Column appears in the Palm Beach Post every Tuesday!
Question – Will Medicare pay for home care services in my own home?
Answer: Many people assume that Medicare provides little to no continuing coverage for in-home health care. In fact, the program covers up to 35 hours a week of nursing and home health care for those who meet specific requirements.
In order to qualify for home health care, Medicare requires a patient to be homebound. That doesn’t equate to being bed-bound, rather, home bound patients typically need help ambulating, dressing, or using the bathroom.
A doctor also must approve a written “plan of care” that includes the services of a nurse or physical, speech or occupational therapist. Additionally, the plan of care can include the services of a home health aide, who can assist the patient with their activities of daily living.
If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, then you can receive:
- Part-time or Intermittent Skilled Nursing Care
- Part-time or Intermittent Home Health Aide Care
- Physical, Speech-language, and Occupational Therapy
- Medical Social Services
- Medical Supplies
- Durable Medical Equipment
Medicare will not cover 24-hour daily home care; home meal delivery; housekeeping services such as cleaning, laundry, and shopping; and personal care from home a home health aide when aide care is the only type of care you require.
Patients have the absolute right to choose the Medicare agency that they want to provide their care.