Will Medicare cover costs associated with independent living?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Will Medicare cover costs associated with independent living?

Expert Answers

Medicare doesn't cover any of the cost -- that is the room, board, and other non-medical services -- of an independent living facility. Medicare pays for medical services, treatment, and equipment only, not for living arrangements (except for temporary stays in a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility).

Many people who need some regular care but manage to live independently -- in their own home, with family or friends, or in an independent living facility -- do so with the help of in-home care services, either from a home care agency or from independent caregivers. However, Medicare doesn't cover this kind of in-home help, either. The type of in-home care Medicare covers is only short-term, and only while a patient needs skilled nursing care while recovering from an illness or injury.

The one part of Medicare than can be particularly helpful to people who live independently is Medicare Part B coverage of medical equipment. This can include such things as special "hospital" beds, lifts to assist with getting in and out of bed or chair, commode chairs, walkers, wheelchairs, and oxygen equipment, among many others. However, this equipment doesn't include permanent alterations to a home to assist with independent living.