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Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care After Surgery

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What Parts Arent Covered

Cervical and lumbar spine patients – home care

There are some aspects of in-home care that are convenient and even sometimes necessary to help sustain certain lifestyles, but they arent all covered by Medicare. These services include:

  • 24-hour skilled nursing care: If you or a loved one needs this, you may be better off in a skilled nursing home facility, which Medicare does cover.
  • Meals delivered to your home: While there may be aides who help do this in your home, you will not be reimbursed for having meals brought to you because you cant leave the house.
  • Custodial care when its the only service you need: Custodial care refers to any non-medical help you need, such as with bathing or getting dressed. However, this type of care could be included in your plan if your doctor deems that its necessary to improve your condition.
  • Homemaker services: This includes activities such as shopping, cleaning, and laundry, as described by the Medicare website. This also could be covered if they are related to your home health plan prescribed by your doctor.

So now that we know what Medicare covers , lets discuss how you can qualify for in-home care.

MORE ADVICE Discover more tips for comfortably aging in place

You cant simply decide that you prefer your nursing care and other therapy needs in your home. You must meet the qualifications for in-home care.

If You Don’t Have A Service

You may need to pay a copay for outpatient care for conditions not related to your military service, at the rates listed below.

2021 outpatient care copay rates

Type of outpatient care Copay amount for each visit or test
Type of outpatient care Copay amount for each visit or test $15
Copay amount for each visit or test $50
Copay amount for each visit or test $50

Note: You wont need to pay any copays for X-rays, lab tests, or preventive tests and services like health screenings or immunizations.

Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care

En español | Home health care services are a valuable Medicare benefit that provides skilled nursing care, therapy and other aid to people who are largely or entirely confined to their homes.

In 2017, Medicare spent $17.7 million on home health services for 3.4 million beneficiaries, more than double the amount expended in 2001, according to the federal Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

To be covered, the services must be ordered by a doctor, and one of the more than 11,000 home health agencies nationwide that Medicare has certified must provide the care. Under these circumstances, Medicare can pay the full cost of home health care for up to 60 days at a time.

That period is renewable, meaning Medicare will continue to provide coverage if your doctor recertifies at least once every 60 days that the home services remain medically necessary.

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How Else Can I Pay For Home Care

Besides Medicare and Medicaid, there are several programs to help cover the costs of home care. Each has its own eligibility requirements and list of services it will cover. In addition, paying out of pocket is always an option, though many people will quickly find this cost-prohibitive without a plan to raise enough cash.

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Is Skilled Nursing Care Covered

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Medicare covers intermittent nursing services. This means that nursing care is provided fewer than seven days a week, or for less than eight hours a day, up to a limit of 21 days. In some cases, Medicare will extend the window if your doctor can provide an accurate assessment of when the care will end.

Skilled nursing services are usually employed to help treat an illness or assist the patient with recovering from an injury. The nurse needs to be licensed to administer the medical treatment you need .

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When Medicare Will Cover Home Health Care

For your home heath care to be covered by Medicare, your situation must meet this list of requirements.

  • Your doctor must have prescribed home health care for you.
  • You must require part-time skilled nursing care or physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
  • The home health care must be provided by a Medicare-approved agency.
  • You must be confined to your home by an injury, illness, or other medical condition.
  • Your doctor must help set up a care plan in cooperation with the home health care agency.

Medicare sometimes used to also require that your condition be expected to improve with home health care, but a recent change allows you to qualify for home health care just to maintain your condition or to slow deterioration of your condition.

If you require full-time nursing care, Medicare will not approve home health care, but it could cover a skilled nursing facility. For more information, see our article on Medicare coverage for skilled nursing care.

Will Medicare Cover Skilled Nursing Care

Medicare will pay for whats considered intermittent nursing services, meaning that care is provided either fewer than seven days a week, or daily for less than eight hours a day, for up to 21 days. Sometimes, Medicare will extend this window if a doctor can provide a precise estimate on when that care will end.

Skilled nursing services are generally required to treat an illness or assist in the recovery of an injury. As the name implies, those who provide this care are licensed to administer medical treatment such as injections, catheter changes, wound dressings, and tube feedings.

The maximum amount of weekly care Medicare will pay for is usually 28 hours, though in some circumstances, it will pay for up to 35. But it wont cover 24-hour-a-day care.

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What Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover

The primary objective of Medicares home care program is to provide seniors with short-term skilled services in the comfort of their own homes as an alternative to recovering in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Skilled nursing services are those that must be provided by a qualified health professional, such as a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Practical Nurse .

Examples of these services include:

  • Monitoring of a patients vital signs and overall health
  • Wound care for a pressure ulcer or surgical incision
  • Administration of intravenous drugs or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Catheter changes
  • Patient and caregiver education

Skilled therapy services are those that must be provided by or under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech-language therapist.

  • Physical therapy exercises typically focus on improving and restoring strength, balance and range of motion for optimal physical function.
  • Occupational therapy assists in regaining the ability to independently engage in activities of daily living and adapting these tasks or the surrounding environment to improve functionality and accessibility.
  • Speech-language therapy helps patients regain the ability to speak and communicate as well as overcome swallowing difficulties .

What Is A House Call Doctor

Need Home Health Care?

A house call doctor, or house call physician, is simply a doctor who performs medical visits in the patient’s place of residence. House call doctors may be employed by an agency, or they may have their own practice.

What Are the Benefits of Physician House Calls?

The primary benefit of physician house calls is that patients receive quality care, from qualified physicians, in the comfort and convenience of their own home or place of residence. Additional benefits of physician house calls include the following:

  • It ensures regular medical care to patients who have few or no other options
  • It helps monitor and treat both preventable and chronic conditions to keep patients out of ERs and hospitals
  • It encourages patients to keep up with regular medical visits by bringing the doctor directly to the patient’s home
  • It saves the patient time and money traveling to the doctor’s office

Though there are many benefits associated with medical house calls, there are also some challenges, namely that house calls are not ideal for emergency medical problems, and availability of physicians and scheduling options may be limited in some areas.

How Often Do House Call Doctors Visit?

House call visits can be scheduled as often as required by the patient, but on average patients are seen on a monthly basis. Visits are typically scheduled on weekdays, though the physician may be available by phone on weekends or after hours.

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Home Healthcare Medicare Requirements

For Medicare to cover your home health care, you must demonstrate a medical need. Specifically, you must be homebound. That means either you are unable to leave your home without assistance, it is recommended you not leave your home based on your medical condition, or it is physically taxing to leave your home.

This does not mean you cannot leave your home. Medicare will not hold coverage if you leave your home for medical care, adult day care, or religious services. Short, infrequent absences for nonmedical reasons should not count against you either.

A doctor or nurse practitioner must certify that you are homebound. The certification is based on a face-to-face visit that occurs 90 days before starting home health care or within 30 days of your starting home health services.

The certification outlines your care plan over a 60-day period. Recertifications must be reviewed and approved by your healthcare provider every 60 days but do not require additional face-to-face visits.

A Medicare-certified home health agency must deliver care or it will not be covered. To find a reputable agency in your area, Medicare offers a searchable database at Home Health Compare.

How Does Home Health Care Work

The first step toward receiving home health care is to obtain a physician’s orders and work with a home health care company to develop a detailed care plan. From there, you will be asked to complete an initial consultation with the patient, during which they assess the patient’s needs and develop a plan for treatment. Family members and other caregivers are encouraged to participate in this planning process to ensure consistent and comprehensive care.

When services begin, home health care staff will implement the plan following all physician orders and keep the physician updated about the patient’s progress. The frequency and type of home health visits will vary depending on the patient’s needs. Some patients require daily care while others require only a short visit once or twice per week.

All services are tailored to the patient’s needs.

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Medicare Part D Costs

If you have Medicare Part D, your costs will differ based on the plan you have. You will most likely have some copay costs for any medications prescribed to you.

The costs per drug are set by your plans formulary and tier system. Your plan provider can let you know what to expect to pay for each medication ahead of time.


Medicare has a procedure price lookup tool, which could help you determine the cost of an outpatient surgery. To get the most accurate results, ask your doctor for the exact name of the procedure or the code for that type of surgery.

Does Medicare Pay For Rehab After Hip Surgery

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Many hip surgery patients are discharged from the hospital before theyre ready to live independently at home. Skilled nursing facilities like Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego provide a safe and comfortable place for patients to transition back to independent living. With access to a range of healthcare providers and rehabilitative services, residents are empowered to participate in their recovery while receiving the care they need to restore strength and functioning and get back to their personal best.

At Bella Vista Health Center, we often field calls from patients who have recently undergone or are preparing to undergo hip surgery, and who want to know if Medicare pays for rehab after hip surgery. The short answer is yes. But that wasnt the case just two years ago. Prior to 2020, total hip surgery was on a list of procedures that only qualify for inpatient medicare coverage, not rehabilitation coverage. In 2020, however, total hip surgery was removed from that list, making it available now for rehabilitation coverage through Medicare. There are, however, some stipulations, which well cover in the longer answer below. Read on for more information about Medicare and hip surgery rehab.

Medicare and inpatient rehabilitation

If youre enrolled in Medicare Part A, youll be happy to know that it covers medically necessary inpatient rehab care as long as your condition and the facility meet the qualifying requirements.

  • Rehabilitation therapies

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What Are The Benefits Of Home Health Care

The primary benefit of home health care for the elderly is that it can be delivered directly to the patient’s residence, whether it be a private home, adult foster home, assisted living or residential care facility, memory care facility, or long-term nursing home. By delivering care directly to the patient, expensive hospital bills can be avoided.

Family members are encouraged to be active participants in the planning process to help set and meet goals, working with home health care professionals for the benefit of the patient.

Additional benefits of home health care for seniors include:

  • Faster recuperation and recovery from illness or injury
  • Improved independence

Pros of Home Health Care

  • Care is delivered directly to the patient’s residence
  • Medical services are provided by skilled professionals
  • Home health care staff follow the physician-prescribed plan
  • Patients regain independence and self-sufficiency at home
  • Care is typically less expensive than hospitalization or a long-term nursing home

Cons of Home Health Care

  • Home care services like cooking and cleaning may not be included
  • Patients must meet the “homebound” requirements to qualify for Medicare
  • May not be adequate for patients who require 24-hour monitoring
  • Can be expensive if not covered by insurance or Medicare
  • Number of home health care providers may be limited depending on location

Pros And Cons Of Pdgm

PDGM hopes to identify people in the greatest clinical need and those who will benefit from extended services. With concerns that some home health agencies may have billed for unnecessary treatments in the past, it also aims to cut back on the overuse of therapy for people who may not need or benefit from it.

Despite its good intentions, this model could backfire if home health agencies cherry-pick their clients, favoring short-term therapy after a hospital stay or stay in a rehabilitation facility because it will pay them more.

The Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services needs to carefully monitor outcomes to assure that all Medicare beneficiaries have adequate access and can still get the care they need.

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Does Health Insurance Pay For Home Care After Surgery

Like most benefits, it really depends on thehealth insurance plan you avail of. And depending on the plan you get, thelevel of coverage for after-surgery care will also vary.

However, for surgery-related benefits, homecare may not be on the top of the list of benefits being provided. Whatstandard health insurance policies pay for usually extend up to your stay inthe hospital. After that, you may very well say that you are on your own whenit comes to expenses related to your recovering after surgery.

But it doesn’t hurt to check if your healthinsurance plan does cover home care. If you already have an existing plan, takea look at the booklet of benefits and exclusions that the insurance companyprovides.

Home care may include these services:

  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Certified nursing aid or personal care provider services
  • Speech therapy
  • A professional who can provide overnight or 24-hour care

You can look into possible sources ofcoverage for home care.

Not a bit

What Are The Out

Medicare Coverage for Nursing Home Care

It may be difficult to estimate your exact out-of-pocket costs before your procedure. Your doctors billing office should be able to give you a written estimate of what you can expect. This usually includes a range of potential costs, based on the services you might require during and immediately after the procedure.

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How To Pay For In

There may be times when not every part of your in-home care is covered. We already know 20 percent of the durable medical equipment needed to treat you is your responsibility, but there are other services like custodial care or extra round-the-clock care that wont be covered by Medicare. This is where supplemental insurance comes in.

You may have already heard of Medigap insurance, which you purchase to help pay for all the medical costs that Medicare doesnt, like copayments, deductibles, and premiums. Its also a useful source to have when it comes to in-home care. Supplemental insurance could help cover the costs that you may accrue, like personal care, meals delivered to your home, and the remaining costs of your DME.

If you have any questions regarding your in-home care and what is covered by Medicare, contact your local Social Security office.

Weve Started To Collect Copayments Again

As of we’ve started to collect copayments again for medical care and pharmacy services. We continue to offer options for financial hardship assistance.

If you need help, call us at . Were here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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Urgent Care Copay Rates

There’s no limit to how many times you can use urgent care. To be eligible for urgent care benefits, including through our network of approved community providers, you must:

  • Be enrolled in the VA health care system, and
  • Have received care from us within the past 24 months

You wont have to pay any copay for a visit where youre only getting a flu shot, no matter your priority group.

2021 urgent care copay rates

Priority group Copay amount for first 3 visits in each calendar year Copay amount for each additional visit in the same year
Priority group Copay amount for first 3 visits in each calendar year $0 Copay amount for each additional visit in the same year $30
Copay amount for first 3 visits in each calendar year If related to a condition that’s covered by a special authority*: $0 If not related to a condition covered by a special authority*: $30 each visit Copay amount for each additional visit in the same year $30
Copay amount for first 3 visits in each calendar year $30 Copay amount for each additional visit in the same year $30

* Special authorities include conditions related to combat service and exposures , Southwest Asia Conditions) as well as military sexual trauma, and presumptions applicable to certain Veterans with psychosis and other mental illness.

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