Your Medicare Coverage

Is my test, item, or service covered?

Home health services

How often is it covered?

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers eligible home health services like intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, continued occupational services, and more. Usually, a home health care agency coordinates the services your doctor orders for you. 

Medicare doesn't pay for:

Who's eligible?

All people with Medicare who meet all of these conditions are covered:

  • You must be under the care of a doctor, and you must be getting services under a plan of care established and reviewed regularly by a doctor.
  • You must need, and a doctor must certify that you need, one or more of these:
    • Intermittent skilled nursing care (other than just drawing blood)
    • Physical therapy, speech-language pathology, or continued occupational therapy services. These services are covered only when the services are specific, safe and an effective treatment for your condition. The amount, frequency and time period of the services needs to be reasonable, and they need to be complex or only qualified therapists can do them safely and effectively. To be eligible, either: 1) your condition must be expected to improve in a reasonable and generally-predictable period of time, or 2) you need a skilled therapist to safely and effectively make a maintenance program for your condition, or 3) you need a skilled therapist to safely and effectively do maintenance therapy for your condition.
  • The home health agency caring for you must be Medicare-certified.
  • Your must be homebound, and a doctor must certify that you're homebound.

You're not eligible for the home health benefit if you need more than part-time or "intermittent" skilled nursing care.

You may leave home for medical treatment or short, infrequent absences for non-medical reasons, like attending religious services. You can still get home health care if you attend adult day care.

Note: Home health services may also include medical social services, part-time or intermittent home health aide services, medical supplies for use at home, durable medical equipment, or injectable osteoporosis drugs.

Your costs in Original Medicare

Before you start getting your home health care, the home health agency should tell you how much 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 home health agency should give you a notice called the "Home Health Advance Beneficiary Notice" (HHABN) before giving you services and supplies that Medicare doesn't cover.

Note

Your doctor or other health care provider may recommend you get services more often than Medicare covers. Or, they may recommend services that Medicare doesn’t cover. If this happens, you may have to pay some or all of the costs. It’s important to ask questions so you understand why your doctor is recommending certain services and whether Medicare will pay for them.

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