While the care of parents or other senior loved ones is the ultimate priority, the cost of the care they require is often a close second. The good news is that home health care costs considerably less than the cost associated with nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
So, how much does home health care cost? Below we’ll cover the average costs related to home health care, the services that are typically provided and more. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique and true costs will vary according to the care needed.
Quick Cost Guide
- Nursing home with a semi-private room – $91,615*
- Assisted living facility – $47,064*
- Home Care – $32,760
Home Health Care Costs Differ From Client-to-Client
The costs of short- and long-term care for seniors vary depending on region, services required and the duration and frequency of the care.
For example, the annual care costs for a client who requires driving services once or twice a week will be drastically different from the costs paid by a client who requires daily meal preparation or overnight care.
Below, we will provide information about annual cost averages for different types of care, along with a list of the types of services provided by licensed home health care agencies. As you review the information, keep the idea of quality-of-life costs as well.
Home health care can help make clients feel safe, secure, capable and independent. It allows them to remain in the home they love, surrounded by the heirlooms and possessions that mean something to them. It keeps their routines the same and eliminates the restrictions or “rules” that are often set in place by alternative care options.
If you’re considering home health care as an option for you or a loved one, it makes sense to schedule free, in-home assessments with top agencies in your area.
If you plan to use Medicare or Medicaid to pay for these costs, make sure the agency is Medicare-approved before scheduling an appointment. This assessment is integral to establishing the types of services that are required now, and to create a comprehensive long-term plan.
It will also provide cost predictions and analysis based on your specific needs and we’ll offer recommendations for how to keep the home senior-friendly, safe and accessible in the meantime.
National Average Costs of Care By Type
The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program keeps track of long-term care costs across the nation. Their information is based on care that would require at least six hours of professional care, five days a week.
The average, at-a-glance costs for the three most common types of care for seniors are as follows:
- Nursing home with a semi-private room – $91,615*
- Assisted living facility – $47,064*
- Home Care – $32,760
Home health care costs will escalate as a client’s needs increase, but such is the case for both nursing home and assisted living facilities since their base prices do not reflect additional care, laundry services, medical costs, etc.
*The same agencies that provide home care are also willing to extend aspects of their services into the assisted living and nursing home arenas, providing things like companionship, medication reminders, driving services, and so on.
What is Offered by Home Health Care Agencies?
Home health care agencies are dedicated to providing high-quality care, from qualified caregivers, that support the physical and emotional well-being of our clients in the comfort of their own homes.
This personalized, client-centric care paradigm keeps seniors more content, comfortable and independent.The most common services requested by our clients include:
- Driving services to doctor appointments, social engagements and religious services and activities
- Daily grooming, bathing and hygiene care, including incontinence care
- Bill paying and general administrative – including IT – support
- Medication reminders
- Housekeeping and errand running
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Overnight or live-in care
- Respite care (to give regular caregivers much-needed time off)
How to Take Advantage of Home Health Care Services
Working with a trusted physician is one of the best things you can do to take advantage of home health care services while keeping an eye on the budget.
Once you’ve clarified coverage options from Medicare or Medicaid, any existing private insurance, etc., the physician and his/her staff can advocate on your behalf for which (and how) home health services are implemented.
In certain cases, immobility or other health issues may allow the home health care cost for a home care aide (separate from medically-oriented home health care services) to be covered for a short time until certain medical conditions are under control and the individual regains the ability to perform certain basic care functions (bathing, toileting, grooming, etc.)
Once you and the physician(s) have come of up with a list of services required, schedule at least two or three free, in-home consultation with licensed home care agencies. During these consultations, agency representatives will also explain which services can be billed through insurance and which are billed out-of-pocket.
Home care agencies can also assist you with creating a long-term care plan, which is instrumental in providing peace of mind and a step-by-step protocol for how to proceed as the needs of the client evolve over time.
After meeting with a few different agencies, you’ll have a clear idea of which one best suits your needs and makes you feel the most comfortable. The good news is that this isn’t an either/or scenario; home care aides and home health care professionals often work collaboratively to provide the most efficient, beneficial and comfortable care for their clients.
Financing the Costs For Home Health Care
The good news is that financing home health care is easier than you might think. Here are some of the most common ways seniors and their families fund home health care services.
Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medicaid
Medicare is available to those 65-years or over and/or adults with severe disabilities. It is a federally funded program and it covers the total costs of medically-related home care, as well as 80% of medical equipment costs (such as oxygen tanks, mobility aids, hospital beds, etc.).
The caveat is that the services requires must be prescribed by a physician or appropriate, licensed health care specialist – and these needs and the patient’s progress are assessed continuously over time.
How to Apply for Medicare
Most individuals eligible for Medicare are contacted via mail by Medicare.gov. It’s important to enroll during the initial enrollment period if possible to avoid any potential penalties. Medicare’s initial enrollment period lasts 7-months;
- It begins 3-months before turning 65-years old
- It includes the month of your birthday
- It continues for 3-months after your birthday
There are multiple ways to enroll yourself or to assist a loved one. They include:
- Starting the application online with the Social Security Administration at ssa.gov.
- Calling the Social Security Administration and speaking to a representative directly. SSA is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and their phone number is 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can reach SSA at TTY 1-800-325-0778.
- Call and make an appointment at your local SSA office (Click Here for a list of locations).
Medicaid has stringent, low-income qualifications but those who qualify are also entitled to subsidized and/or full-coverage options for home care services as long as the services are based on medical needs.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Type C and D)
If you pay for a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may have more options available to you but these all depend on the type of plan you select.
Medicare Advantage Plans come with monthly premiums that reflect the level of coverage offered by various plans. These plans are provided by private insurance providers that contract with the government.
We recommend making an appointment and speaking directly with an SSA representative to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, Part C or Part D, and whether or not they are a good option for you and the home care services they cover.
How to Apply For Medicaid
Medicaid coverage and eligibility are handled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They have stringent, low-income qualifications, but those who qualify are also entitled to subsidized and/or full-coverage options for home care services as long as the services are based on medical needs.
Coverage and eligibility vary from state to state with respect to cost-of-living analyses, annual income, family size, etc. Click here to complete information for your state to determine whether or not you or your loved one may be eligible for Medicaid.
If you feel you are eligible, you can apply for Medicaid assistance one of two ways:
- Click Here to view eligibility requirements in Virginia. If you live elsewhere, simply use the drop-down menu at the right of the page to select the state where you or the interested applicant lives.
- Fill out the form on the Health & Human Services Marketplace page. The information provided will trigger an assessment of whether or not the applicant qualifies for Medicaid.
Private Health Insurance Plans
Because home health care is more affordable than its nursing home or assisted living facility counterparts, insurance providers are taking note and are slowly expanding their home care coverage options. You may be surprised at the types of home health services available to you via your private health insurance policy.
Call your plan’s customer service representative to find out which types of services are subsidized or covered, and what requirements are necessary to qualify. As with Medicare, you may need a referral or recommendation from a physician or specialist.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If you’re planning ahead, you’re in luck. Long-term care insurance policies can be a wonderful option for financing the care expenses you’ll incur down the road. As you can imagine, though, the younger you are when you purchase your policy, the more affordable the monthly premium will be.
We recommend meeting with a trusted financial advisor or insurance representative to make sure you buy a plan that will do what it says it’s going to do, and that makes sense for your projected needs.
As with all insurance policies – you never want to be inadequately or over-insured – its always best to strike that middle ground.
As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, reverse mortgages came under stringent scrutiny. However, the recent tightening up of lender loopholes, and the stabilization of the real estate market, make these and similar equity lines of credit a viable options for many senior homeowners.
By taking out just what you need, you can finance the remainder of your home health care costs for the next five, ten or 20-years.
Ultimately, these mortgage plans view your home as a retirement investment, and once you’ve signed on the dotted line, it’s almost the same as making a withdrawal on years of retirement investments, as you would with a traditional IRA, money market, 401(k), etc.
Again, you should speak with a certified financial planner or a certified public accountant before making any significant changes in your financial plan.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several different programs to cover or offset the cost of home care. The most widely-used are the Improved Pension, Homebound and Aid and Attendance funds.
Life Insurance Conversions
If you or a loved one are still paying monthly premiums for a life insurance policy, you may be eligible for a life insurance conversions. There a few different options, depending on your plan.
Always consult with qualified, licensed insurance agent before making any permanent decisions regarding your policy.
Affordable, Professional Home Care is a Reality
Are you interested in exploring the costs of home health care for yourself or a loved one? Schedule a free, in-home assessment or give us a call here at Georgetown Home Care.
We pride ourselves on being one of the most trusted and sought after. Medicare-approved home care agencies in the greater Virginia and DC Metro areas.