Many Americans continue to suffer from loneliness and social isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Pew Research Center , 7% of adults ages 60 or older live alone in the United States, and 46% share their home with only one other person.
Studies show about 25% of Americans ages 65 and older are considered socially isolated. If you feel lonely, companion care may be able to help.
Check with your Medicare plan to see if it offers companion care services at your home.
What Companion Care Can Medicare Cover?
Medicare covers part-time or intermittent companion care (also called home health aide services) when you also get skilled care, including:
Skilled nursing care
Speech-language pathology services
Continuing occupational therapy
In order for Medicare to provide coverage, the “part-time or intermittent” services must be:
Fewer than eight hours per day
28 hours or fewer per week
In limited situations, weekly services may be up to 35 hours.
Medicare does not cover the following:
24-hour-a-day care at home
Meals delivered to your home
Homemaker services, like shopping, cleaning and laundry
Custodial or personal care, like bathing, dressing and using the bathroom when this is the only care you need
What Assistance Can a Companion Provide?
You may be asking: “How can a companion help me?” Well, companions provide a human connection for those who need it the most. Companions may provide the following services:
Transportation and errand help
Assistance with household tasks
Help with exercise
You can think of your companion as an extra set of hands at your home. In addition to in-person visits, many companion services offer remote care via online methods, like Zoom or FaceTime.
Other ways a companion can help may include:
Reading the mail
Making phone calls
Applying for services and completing forms
What Does Companion Care Cost?
When it comes to out-of-pocket fees, a home health agency must provide you with an “Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage” (ABN) when Medicare is likely not to cover services. For example, Medicare does not cover companion care if you are not homebound. Consequently, you may have to pay for it.
If Medicare does cover it, you may need to pay the coinsurance, copayments or deductibles.
According to Genworth's 2020 Cost of Care Survey , you could pay the median hourly cost of $23.50. The price you pay can vary by location. For example, the cost of in-home care in Orlando, Florida, is $3,813 .
Do Companions Provide Medical Care?
No, home companion caretakers do not provide standard medical care. If you need home health services , such as skilled nursing care or physical therapy, review your Medicare plan.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The above is meant to be strictly educational and not intended to provide medical advice or solicit the sales of an insurance product or service of any kind.