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What is In-Home Care?

What is In-Home Care?

In-home care refers to services that help you stay in your home. You may need in-home care if you:

  • have a disability
  • need to recuperate from an illness or surgery
  • have difficulty caring for yourself or your home

There are three major categories of in-home care:

  • Home health care – services provided by nurses, physical therapists, and occupational and speech therapists.
  • Personal care – assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, etc.
  • Support services – housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, etc.

Sometimes, one or more of these services are provided by the same agency. For instance, an aide from a home health care agency may provide personal care under a nurse’s supervision. In-home care providers are sometimes called companion aides, personal care aides, certified home health aides and nursing aides.

Who Provides In-Home Care?

Private home health care agencies, individual providers and the county provide in-home care. Sometimes, nurses, private geriatric care managers, or county social workers coordinate and supervise in-home care services.

Who Pays for In-Home Care?

This depends on the care you need, the type of insurance you have, and whether you are eligible for certain government programs.

  • Private Pay and Insurance

People who use in-home care services often pay most of the cost themselves. However, some private health insurance and long-term care insurance policies cover certain in-home care services. Policies vary in their coverage.

Read your policy carefully. Contact your insurance company if you have questions. If you have coverage, be sure to ask the in-home care agency if they accept your insurance. Other questions to ask include:

    • What services are covered?
    • How long are services covered?
    • What are the restrictions? (Prior hospitalization? Level of care?)
    • Who must supervise the care?
  • Government Programs

Medicare helps pay for home health care if you are a Medicare beneficiary only when a doctor certifies a plan that includes one or more of the following services:

    • skilled nursing care
    • physical therapy
    • speech-language services
    • occupational therapy

Additional requirements include:

    • The agency must be Medicare-certified.
    • You must be unable to leave your home without great difficulty.

The Medicare & You Handbook, mailed every fall, discusses these benefits in detail. You can also go the Medicare website or call 1-800-633-4227, TTY 1-877-486-2048 for more information.

Medicaid helps pay the cost of in-home care for eligible low-income people. Sometimes services are paid by a combination of Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think you may qualify for Medicaid, call them