Senior Home Care Services: What to Expect from Medicare’s Expanded Coverage

senior home care medicare coverage

Now that Medicare is going to expand its coverage this year. Certain senior home care services in Atlanta which weren’t covered before are now included under the Medicare Advantage umbrella.

What kind of services can seniors expect to receive? How can they make sure they’re getting the Medicare insurance coverage they really need?

Medicare Coverage Is Expanding – What Seniors and Their Care Partners Can Expect

Non-skilled in-home care services have, up to this point, had limited Medicare coverage. For years, this type of care was only covered if the senior was nearly permanently homebound. Other than that, in-home assistance was limited to:

  • Skilled nursing aides
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language pathologists

Personal care was only offered in conjunction with the above services.

This is changing, though.

Medicare announced in November 2018, through Medicare Advantage, they would be covering services like:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Help with bathing/going to the bathroom
  • Shopping/errands
  • Medication management
  • Nicotine replacement therapy.

Certain plans also cover caregiver support services, like:

  • Counseling
  • Respite care

Gaining this level of coverage is going to benefit both seniors and their caregivers. Those who care for them will get some much needed time to rest, which will reduce stress and help them serve their loved ones even better.

Seniors will benefit because this expanded Medicare coverage gives them the opportunity to stay in their own home. As people age, they need more assistance. Now, they’ll be able to hire someone to help them instead of worrying about moving into a care or assisted living facility.

The Differences Between Medicare and Medicare Advantage

Long-term care assistance has never been covered by Medicare unless there was a need for additional skilled services as well.

This hasn’t changed. Basic Medicare still does not cover long-term home health services. If you need the help of a home care aide, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare Advantage.

Imagine a tree with a bunch of branches. Medicare is the tree, while Medicare Advantage is one of the branches.

Medicare has teamed with other insurance companies, like Humana and Anthem Blue Cross, to provide added coverage for Medicare recipients. It makes sense why they do this – they have their limitations, but allow seniors the opportunity to receive more care and services.

Medicare Advantage is not a separate insurance company, like Anthem or Humana. It is directly linked to Medicare. Depending on the type of plan a senior signs up for, their costs may very well be lower than what they’d pay if they are a member of other insurance companies.

When signing up for Medicare Advantage, we highly recommend reading the fine print, so to speak.

If necessary, get a Medicare customer service representative to break down the plans. This is the only way to thoroughly understand what’s covered and what’s not. Figuring out the ins and outs of a plan right from the start is the best way to reduce the risk of frustration and disappointment down the road.

Not all plans are equal. Seniors and their caregivers should carefully review all of their options to determine which investment is best for their unique needs.

How Seniors Can Choose the Best In-Home Care Company

Choosing the right in-home services company isn’t always easy – for seniors or their caregivers. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a home care agency.

First, make sure they have a great reputation. Talk to family and friends. See who they’ve used and are happy to recommend.

Second, choose a company which accepts Medicare. The benefit of expanded coverage won’t benefit anyone if they choose a company which doesn’t accept Medicare.

Finally, it’s best to find a company who is devoted to those in their care. The best care always comes from the heart, which is what seniors receive from all of us at Skylark Senior Care.

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