Costs will vary depending on your need for an in-home aide for personal or companion care vs. a skilled medical provider like a nurse or therapist. The average cost of a personal care aide in Texas is $21 per hour, however costs vary by region. Personal care aides assist aging individuals with household tasks and basic activities of daily living whereas home health aides can provide some in-home health care services under the supervision of a licensed nurse. You’ll pay less for the services of a home health aide than you would for a visit from a skilled medical specialist.
Generally, Medicare coverage is determined by the type of services provided. Original Medicare will only cover medically-necessary home health care that is ordered by a physician on a short-term basis. Eligible services must be offered by a Medicare-certified provider. Personal care services will only be covered if they are part of a scope of services that includes the need for in-home skilled medical care. For more information on qualifying conditions and Medicare covered home care services, Medicare provides an eligibility tool on the Medicare.gov website.
Each state runs its Medicaid program differently, so eligibility and benefits are different in every state. Make sure you research home care benefits specific to the state where care will be provided. All 50 states have some type of program that pays for home care for the elderly, however the benefit is dependent on which type of Medicaid program the senior is enrolled in. To learn more about Medicaid eligibility for home care benefits, research both the Medicaid State Plan as well as the Medicaid Waiver Program in Texas.
Before choosing a home care agency, research the requirements for licensing or certification in your state. For home and community support service agencies (HCSSA) in Texas, state licensing is issued by Texas Health and Human Services. HHS licensing provides a level of protection to individuals receiving home health, hospice and personal assistance services. Texas requires a training conference as well as ongoing licensing surveys to ensure operational procedures comply with state rules. Caregivers who work with a licensed agency are bonded and ensured by the organization they work for. Keep in mind that the best agencies will go above and beyond the minimal certification requirements.
For a comprehensive list of programs and services available to seniors in Houston, visit Harris County’s Area Agency on Aging. Home and community programs including benefits counseling, nutrition programs and contractor information are available to help Texas seniors remain safely and comfortably in their home.