What You Need to Know About Paying for Senior Home Care
Paying for senior home care is usually less expensive than institutional care, like assisted living and nursing homes. Here's what you need to know.
Caring for seniors grows more expensive every year. A semi-private room in a nursing home now costs an average of $207 a day, and a one-bedroom in assisted living costs an average of $4,625 per month in Washington State.
The cost of in-home assistance for the elderly is also growing, but being able to remain in your home means all the other expenses dissipate. The average cost of a home health aide is $28, which often pales in comparison to full-time live-in options.
Do you need home health care but also wonder how you'll pay for it? Read our guide to paying for senior home care to learn more.
How to Use Medicare for Home Health Care
Medicare covers the cost of some home health care under particular circumstances.
To qualify for coverage, you must prove that you:
- Are homebound
- Require skilled nursing services
- Have a doctor's confirmation of the above
Homebound means that you find it very difficult to leave your home, and you cannot go without a significant amount of help.
Skilled nursing services usually require the help of an RN or another nurse who visits you at least once every two months or as often as once a day for three weeks at a time.
You must also receive your care from a Medicare-certified home health agency (HHA).
If you qualify, then Medicare Part A or Part B may pay for home health aide services or in-home skilled care. Original Medicare (Part A) doesn't cover non-medical care and is selective in its home health care coverage. Medicare Advantage may include home care aides depending on your plan.
Before hiring at-home care, contact Medicare (1-800-Medicare) to see if you qualify.
Using Washington State's Volunteer Service for Home Care
If you don't qualify for Medicare or your care doesn't fall under the plan's strict definitions, consider applying for Washington State's program.
The Volunteer Services (previously known as Volunteer Chore Services) offer assistance to seniors who don't qualify for other services. Volunteer Service doesn't provide medical care, but they do offer home assistance, like personal care, transportation, housework, meal preparation, and companionship.
If you qualify, the services run free of charge because they are targeted at vulnerable adults who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
Other Methods of Paying for Senior Home Care
If Medicare and the Volunteer Service don't cover your needs, then you may consider other private options.
Some of the most common ways of paying for care include:
- Reverse mortgages
- Private insurance (long-term care insurance and life insurance)
- Collective sibling agreements
Each type of private payment method has pros and cons depending on your care needs, your finances, and what help your family provides.
Whatever you do, be sure to look towards public options first, especially if paying means you need to go into debt.
Home Health Care is Financially Achievable
Paying for senior home care isn't cheap, but it's much less expensive than an early departure to an assisted living or nursing home. Costs in Washington state are higher than average, so it is in your interest to stay at home as long as it remains an option.
Do you have more questions about home health care? Get in touch to learn about the services we provide-
A SeaCare In-Home Care family member is looking forward to speaking with you about your options!