What Are the Financing Options for Home Health Care?

Home health care is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation because of the increasing demand for its services and the growing numbers in the senior population. As an alternative to inpatient skilled nursing and therapy, home health services can benefit patients in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Several financing options are available for this service.

Medicare

Medicare Part A is the most widely used financing option for home health care. To qualify, you must have doctors orders specifically stating your need for this service. You must be homebound, and a Medicare-certified home health agency must provide your care.

Private Insurance

Many health insurance companies will cover home health care. Most long-term care insurance providers can be used for private agencies but won't cover services provided by a Medicare-certified agency.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a government-sponsored program for those who meet certain lower income requirements. There are strict guidelines in place to prevent misuse of this benefit, and income verification is necessary. There is typically a five-year "look-back" used to verify that you have not shifted funds to qualify. If you meet the qualifications for this benefit, many home health care providers will accept it as payment.

VA Benefits

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension. It is in place for those that need the attendance of another for assistance with activities of daily living. It can be used for individuals not only in private homes, but also in assisted-living communities and skilled-nursing facilities. As of 2010, a veteran may be eligible for up to $19,728 per year. Those with a dependent spouse qualify for a larger amount. Check with your local Veterans Affairs (VA) office.

Reverse Mortgage

At age 62, you can qualify for a reverse mortgage on your home if it is your primary residence. Unlike a home equity line of credit, you don't need to make monthly payments as long as you continue to live there. The amount you can borrow will depend on your age, the current interest rate and the value of your house. You can research this option through AARP and most lenders.