Does Health Insurance Cover Home Health Care?
A famous movie line says, “There’s no place like home.” Even when you’ve been away on a dream vacation, it’s still nice to come home to your own bed and familiar surroundings.
This is especially true when you or a loved one takes ill. Often, you feel better just being at home, with friends and family around to provide comfort. However, sometimes the amount of care needed is more than untrained family members can handle. If you find yourself in this situation, you might need to know if health insurance covers home health care.
What is Involved in Home Health Care?
There are many reasons why someone would need to be cared for at home. Accidents, diagnosis of a terminal condition such as multiple sclerosis, a severe handicap, or a sudden event like a stroke could easily require home health care. According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, approximately eight million people are receiving professional home health care, at a cost of nearly $60 billion.
Even so, home health care can be less expensive than a lengthy hospital stay. On average, one day in a hospital bed can cost thousands of dollars while a visit by a home health care professional is less than $200 a day.
It is also becoming a more popular option for families who require care for an elderly relative. Providing care at home is a viable alternative to a nursing home and many consider it a safer choice because you can be there to monitor caregivers.
Services provided by home health care businesses vary, depending on the needs of the patient, the type of organization you choose, and your insurance coverage. The range of assistance can include physical therapy, nursing, and help with medications. You can also get support for aspects such as bathing the patient, transportation, meals, and household help.
How do Health Insurance Companies Handle Home Care Coverage?
Most major insurance companies will cover home health care in some form or another. However, there is no standard set of rules regarding home care coverage, so each provider handles it differently.
For instance, temporary home health care may be a fairly simple process, but if you require these services for a longer period of time, the rules could change. It also might depend on the types of services needed, such as rehabilitative therapy or medical equipment.
You might be able to find a company offering long term care insurance. Originally available to those who needed nursing home care, it has now been extended to include home health care.
This type of insurance helps to prevent families from losing everything while caring for a member who becomes ill. Nevertheless, it is critical to do some research to find the provider that best suits your individual situation, as these companies typically have numerous restrictions and regulations that might have you paying more out of pocket than you expected.
A majority of the organizations that provide home health care services are private entities. However, patients in these situations often qualify for Medicare, so you should check to see if this is opportunity is available. People over 65 years of age may qualify for Medicare coverage without much difficulty.
You should be aware that Medicare will only cover about two months of home care. If services are needed for a longer period of time, you would be responsible for finding a way to pay the costs associated with home health care.
People who need home health care due to being hurt at a job site should contact their employer. This circumstance is usually covered by some form of workers’ compensation.
How to Find a Quality Home Health Care Provider?
When you find yourself in need of home health care services, it can be a scary time and it’s difficult to know where to turn. There are several terms used to describe providers such as home health care organizations, hospices, and home care aides or agencies, which can add to your confusion. You should be aware that the different names often signify different services offered, such as nursing personnel or therapists.
Some people choose to hire live-in help, which could be ideal for families who need assistance but do not have much money. In this instance, you would hire someone who is not a health care professional to provide help and they receive room and board in return.
Of course, if this person is not a friend or family member, you would have to ensure their credentials and personal history are free of any negative incidents. Finding a college student with some medical training might be a good place to start.
You can find several private and government agencies dedicated to helping people get quality home health care services. There are also medical organizations and senior citizens advocate groups that can provide assistance in this area.
It might be best to talk to folks who are in a similar situation and can share the pros and cons that they experienced. Overall, you need to do your research to discover whether the home health care option is right for you.