Home health services

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and/or Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) cover eligible home health services as long as you need part-time or intermittent skilled services and as long as you’re “homebound,” which means:

  • You have trouble leaving your home without help (like using a cane, wheelchair, walker, or crutches; special transportation; or help from another person) because of an illness or injury.
  • Leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition.
  • You’re normally unable to leave your home because it’s a major effort.

Covered home health services include: 

A doctor or other health care provider (like a nurse practitioner) must have a face-to-face visit with you before certifying that you need home health services. A doctor or other health care provider must order your care, and a Medicare-certified home health agency must provide it.

In most cases, "part-time or intermittent" means you may be able to get skilled nursing care and home health aide services up to 8 hours a day, with a maximum of 28 hours per week. You may be able to get more frequent care for a short time if your doctor or other health care provider determines it's necessary.

Medicare doesn't pay for:

  • 24-hour-a-day care at your home
  • Meals delivered to your home
  • Homemaker services (like shopping and cleaning) that aren’t related to your care plan
  • Custodial or personal care that helps you with daily living activities (like bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom), when this is the only care you need

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.


Your costs in Original Medicare

  • $0 for covered home health care services.
  • After you meet the Part B deductible, 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for Medicare-covered medical equipment.

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 Advance Beneficiary Notice" (ABN) before giving you services and supplies that Medicare doesn't cover.


If you get services from a home health agency in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, or Texas, you may be affected by a Medicare demonstration program. Under this demonstration, your home health agency, or you, may submit a request for pre-claim review of coverage for home health services to Medicare. This helps you and the home health agency know earlier in the process if Medicare is likely to cover the services. Medicare will review the information and cover the services if the services are medically necessary and meet Medicare requirements.

Your Medicare home health services benefits aren't changing and your access to home health services shouldn’t be delayed by the pre-claim review process. For more information, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE.

Things to know


During the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants can provide home health services, without the certification of a physician.

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