What Are the Steps to Getting Home Health Care?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

The steps to getting home health care include identifying the care needs of you or your family member, finding a home care agency with the necessary services and requesting coverage through Medicare. Medicare pays home health care costs for members if your doctor certifies that you need skilled nursing care or rehabilitation and can’t leave home because of an illness or injury.

How Do You Identify Care Needs?

You identify care needs with the help of a health care provider. When the doctor recommends home care, they will provide details about the types of services that could benefit you or your loved one. The home health agency works with the patient, along with their family and medical team, to develop an appropriate care plan.

Home health care coverage through Medicare includes:

  • Skilled nursing
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Social services related to a person’s medical condition
  • Osteoporosis medications for women
  • Medical supplies
  • Durable medical equipment

Medicare will also cover services from a home care aide, such as help with activities of daily living, only if you or your loved one already qualifies for home health care. 

How Do You Find a Home Care Agency?

You find a home care agency by searching for Medicare-approved providers in your area. Consider asking others in your community for recommendations or reading online reviews about local options to narrow down your list. Meet with the agencies and ask about their certifications, their hiring policies and the employee training process. Make sure you and your loved one feel comfortable with the provider you select. 

How Much Does Medicare Pay for Home Health Care?

Eligible members receive coverage for up to eight hours a day and up to 28 hours a week. According to the 2024 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, home health care services cost an average of $33 per hour for homemaker services and $30 for home health aides. This means Medicare pays up to $264 per day and $924 per week for home health care. When you enroll in home health care, the agency provides a statement showing the amount covered by Medicare.