35°F
weather icon Clear

Medicare: Home health covered or not?

Medicare covers a variety of health care services you can receive at home. These include, intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services and occupational therapy.

Such services used to be available only at a hospital or doctor’s office, but are just as effective, more convenient, and usually less expensive when you get them in your home.

To be eligible for home health benefits, you must be under a doctor’s care and receive your services under a plan of care established and reviewed regularly by a physician. He or she also needs to certify that you need one or more home health services.

In addition, you must be homebound and have a doctor’s certification to that effect. Being homebound means leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition, or your condition keeps you from leaving without using a wheelchair or walker, or getting help from another person.

Also, you must get your services from a home health agency that’s Medicare approved.

If you meet these criteria, Medicare pays 100 percent for covered home health services for as long as you’re eligible and your doctor certifies that you need them.

For durable medical equipment such as a walker, wheelchair or oxygen equipment, you pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount, after you pay the Part B deductible, which is $147 in 2013.

Skilled nursing services are covered when given on a part-time or intermittent basis. In order for Medicare to cover such care, it must be necessary and ordered by your doctor for your specific condition. Medicare does not cover full-time nursing care.

Skilled nursing services are provided by either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse under an RN’s supervision. Nurses provide direct care and teach you and your caregivers about your care.

Examples of skilled nursing care include: giving IV drugs, shots or tube feedings; changing dressings; and teaching about prescription drugs or diabetes care.

Any service that could be done safely by a non-medical person without the supervision of a nurse, isn’t skilled nursing care.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services have to be specific, safe and effective treatments for your condition.

Before your home health care begins, the home health agency should tell you how much of your bill Medicare will pay. The agency should also tell you if any items or services they give you aren’t covered by Medicare, and how much you’ll have to pay for them.

This should be explained by both talking with you and in writing. The agency should give you a notice called the Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice before giving you services and supplies that Medicare doesn’t cover.

What isn’t covered? Some examples:

• 24-hour-a-day care at home;

• meals delivered to your home;

• homemaker services like shopping, cleaning, and laundry (when this is the only care you need, and when these services aren’t related to your plan of care);

• personal care given by home health aides like bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom (when this is the only care you need).

If your doctor decides you need home health care, you can choose from among the Medicare-certified agencies in your area.

One good way to look for a home health agency is by using Medicare’s “Home Health Compare” web tool, at www.medicare.gov/hhcompare. This tool lets you compare home health agencies by the types of services they offer and the quality of care they provide.

The booklet, “Medicare and Home Health Care.” It’s online atwww.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10969.pdf.

David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump | Upcoming events

SATURDAY, JAN. 7

DAN SIMMONS: The hunt for new possibilities

It’s a new year with new opportunities and possibilities. Now it is time to set our priorities and make plans. My friend Bill Wilson did just that this past year as he set his sights on an African Cape Buffalo safari in Zimbabwe.

PHOTOS: Community Christmas Eve Dinner serves 700-plus

Taking place on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, the Community Christmas Dinner saw a large turnout of hundreds of area residents and visitors, all of whom were greeted with enthusiasm by an army of volunteers.

How you can help the Toys for Tots drive

Here in the Pahrump Valley, Toys for Tots is headed by the Marine Corps League Detachment #1199.

Did you miss Santa Claus in Beatty? Here’s how you can see him again

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be passing out gifts at the Beatty Volunteer Fire Department’s Santa Night at the Beatty Community Center on Friday, Dec. 16, starting at 6 p.m., where there will also be hot cocoa and coffee and baked good treats for all.

Pahrump philanthropist and businessman Ron Frazier dies

Frazier, a native of Wisconsin, was the owner of Frazier Furniture store on Calvada Boulevard and owner of the popular Pahrump Life Magazine. He was also the co-founder of Pahrump’s annual Chili-Festival at Petrack Park.

NyE Communities Coalition: A 20-year retrospective

The CEO and one of the founders of the nonprofit reflects on two decades of serving the community ahead of the agency’s 20th anniversary.