Will Medicare Pay for Home Care?

So often we get calls from folks who ask if Medicare will pay for home care visits.  They had a friend who was recovering from hip surgery and nursing assistants came to her home, compliments of Medicare.

While yes, Medicare will pay for home care visits, it only does so on a limited basis and normally only after a medical event.  In the case of hip surgery, for example, they might pay for two or three bath visits per week, each lasting possibly 45 minutes.  And the visits will only last for a few weeks until the patient is able to move independently.

Most seniors who need home care need much more than those few visits.  They need caregivers for a few hours to all day to assist them with housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, toileting, dressing and grooming.  Sadly, Medicare will not pay for these visits.

If you happen to be Medicaid eligible, Medicaid will pay for home care.  The difficulty in Chapel Hill and Durham is that few agencies accept Medicaid.  Reimbursement rates are so low that agencies would operate at a loss.

With the above exceptions, home care is largely a private pay industry.  Clients either pay from their savings, or through a long term care policy that they purchased.

About the Author:

Lorenzo Mejia and his wife, Mary Lynn Ryerson, are the owners of Acorn, a caregiver registry located in Chapel Hill.

They founded Acorn based on their experiences caring for his mom, who suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease.  In 2013, he became a Qualified Dementia Care Specialist.  In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Foundation named him the Dementia Care Professional of the Year in the United States.

Lorenzo is the founder of Dementia Friendly Orange County an effort to make local businesses more accommodating to people with dementia.

Lorenzo speaks often on dementia and the challenges associated with caring for loved ones.  He has been interviewed by ABC News and National Public Radio.  He is an advisor to Orange County’s OC-CARES Dementia Capable Community Project.

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Acorn provides screened and vetted in-home caregivers for clients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, ALS and other similar conditions. Options include 24/7, live-in, weekly, weekend or hourly care. Acorn serves Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough, Pittsboro and surrounding areas in Orange, Chatham, Durham and Wake counties.