If your health care requires home medical assistance, Medicare coverage of services may vary greatly depending on what services are required and for how long. Coverage depends upon whether it falls under Original Medicare (Part A or B) or Medicare Advantage plans; typically basic home health care coverage will apply.
To qualify for Medicare home healthcare services, a doctor or other health professional working closely with them (like a nurse practitioner ) must certify that you require intermittent occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or skilled nursing care at home. Your doctor must meet with you within certain timeframes to document a face-to-face meeting related to home health care and confirm its purpose. Medicare-certified home health agencies must also be used for your care; finally, your physician must establish and regularly review a care plan that details all services that will be required in relation to when, who you will work with for these visits, supplies needed and anticipated visits length.
Home health care can often be more cost-effective than other forms of long-term home health care options, like nursing facilities or more intensive long-term care solutions like hospice. Medicare does not cover custodial home health care such as help with personal tasks such as bathing and dressing – more of what could be called “homemaker services or long-term care”. For this type of help you should look into options such as hospice or residential nursing facilities instead.
Medicare covers more than just skilled nursing and therapy at home; Medicare also offers medical social services that include counseling for social or emotional concerns related to your illness, assistance in finding community resources, durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs or walkers and supplies provided through approved providers such as Home Healthcare for Elders (HHEC).
Medicare Advantage plans have begun offering home health care coverage, including custodial support. Each plan offers different amounts and types of coverage; therefore it’s wise to do your own research into each option available before making your choice.