Will Medicare pay for home health care?
Medicare covers home health care that is temporary and part-time, but only if you meet these requirements:
- Your doctor must say that you need the care. Your doctor must document that you need care at home and make a plan for that care.
- You must need skilled care or therapy (physical, speech or occupational).
- You must be homebound. Homebound means that leaving home is a major effort and you cannot do it without help. When you do leave home, it must be to get medical care, or in short, infrequent non-medical reasons such as a trip to get a haircut or to attend religious services or adult day care.
- The home health agency must be Medicare-approved. For a list of approved agencies, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
What kinds of home health care will Medicare pay for?
If you meet all the requirements for home health care (See Question #1), Medicare will pay for:
- Occasional skilled nursing care: This is care that can only be done safely and correctly by a licensed nurse (either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse).
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy includes exercise to regain movement and strength to part of your body and training on how to use special equipment to take care of yourself.
- Speech-language therapy: Speech-language therapy is exercise to help you speak more easily and clearly.
- Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy helps you do the daily activities by yourself, such as eating, putting on your clothes or combing your hair.
- Medical social services: These services can help you with social and emotional concerns related to your illness. For example, you might need counseling or help finding resources in your community.
- Some medical supplies such as wound dressings, but not prescription drugs.
- Some medical equipment such as a wheelchair or walker.