Who Pays for Non-Medical Home Care?

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We get numerous calls from elderly people living in the community or from families inquiring about getting some help with housekeeping, laundry, and other various non-medical tasks. Those calling are usually disappointed when they learn that Medicare does not pay for any type of non-medical senior care services. Similarly, medical insurance also does not pay for non-medical services.

If Medicare and medical health insurance don’t pay for housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry, shopping, transportation, and companionship, then who does?

There are several ways in which to pay for these services and here is just a bit of information about each:

  1. affordable home are assisted home care care for older people Minneapolis St. Paul home care services for seniors home help for the elderly in home help for seniors in home senior care providersPrivate pay with your own funds or someone else’s funds.

Obviously, if you have cash to pay for services, you can purchase many different types of services that will allow you to remain in your home. As of the date of this writing, rates for non-medical senior care run about $25 per hour, give or take a couple of dollars. Most companies have a minimum number of hours per shift.

Sometimes seniors are worried because they want help and have money, but the pool of money is limited. If you have limited cash resources, sometimes it is a good idea to spend it down so that you can qualify for county programs that generally pay for this service (and other in-home services). Each situation is unique, so it may be worth your while to consult a county worker or a long-term care attorney to determine what you need to do when your private funds run out. Sometimes children, nieces and nephews, or family friends are willing to chip in for services or even pay for them completely.

Many in-home senior care providers will only provide services for private pay home care customers. Right at Home, however, provides services for every customer regardless of payer source.

  1. County waivered programs

Two programs administered by Minnesota county social service agencies include the Elderly Waiver and the Alternative Care Waiver. Both programs have differing but specific income criteria that must be met. Elderly Waiver is for those people with very low income and assets who are in fact eligible for Medical Assistance. With the Alternative Care Waiver, to put it simply, you can have a higher income level and some of it may have to go for paying a percentage of the total cost of the programs you need.

Other requirements for both programs is that the person seeking services must:

* Be 65 or older

* Be a Minnesota resident

* Have chronic care needs

* Choose to live in the community instead of in an institutional setting

* Have a plan of care that assures health and safety

* Be at-risk of nursing home placement as determined by a long-term care assessment

Some examples of services that these programs cover besides homemaking include home-delivered meals, emergency response systems, adaptive devices, and personal hygiene products.

You will need to contact your local county social service agency to apply for both of these programs.

  1. taking care of elderly parents senior home assistance senior companion care respite for caregivers private pay home care non medical senior care in home senior care providersVeteran’s Benefits

The Home and Community Services branch of the Veterans’ Administration will sometimes cover non-medical senior care services. Benefits vary based on length and type of military service. Contact your local Veterans’ Service Officer for assistance in determining whether or not you are eligible. Sometimes the spouses of veterans also have benefits under the VA. Call the Veterans Linkage Line at 1-888-546-5838 to find out where to call to speak to your local service officer.

  1. Workers’ Compensation or Automobile Insurance

If you have had a car accident or work injury that requires you to have non-medical needs, you may have some coverage under these insurance programs for a limited time.   You would need to check with your employer or with your insurance agent. Each situation is assessed individually.

  1. Long-term care insurance

We have clients who are using their long-term care insurance to pay for non-medical services. Policies vary on what is covered and when it is covered. Some policies have deductibles that need to be met. Check your policy or call your insurance agent to see what is and is not covered. Typically, when using long-term care insurance as a way to pay for your in-home services, you have to pay the bill for the services and then the insurance company reimburses you.

  1. Respite Services

Some organizations, such as the Parkinson’s Foundation or the MS Society, have limited funding for in-home respite care, which sometimes includes non-medical services. Respite services are designed to give the primary caregivers a break from routine in order to prevent them from getting overwhelmed with the demands that full-time caregiving requires. Call the following numbers for assistance:

            National MS Society of Minnesota: 612-335-7900

            National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota: 763-545-1272

 

If we at Right at Home can be of any assistance to you in determining how to pay for non-medical in-home care that you feel you need, please give us a call at 952-854-6122.

Julie Ellingson, LSW

February 16, 2015

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