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In-Home Care in Arkansas

The low cost of living in Arkansas is likely one of the reasons an above-average 17.4% of its residents are aged 65 and older. Houses and transportation are generally more affordable, and health care is less expensive on average. It’s a tax-friendly state too because it only partially taxes pension incomes and withdrawals from retirement accounts and doesn’t tax Social Security income at all. Health care services may also factor in its appeal, as Arkansas boasts several high-performing hospitals, such as the Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

Some people use in-home care and home health care interchangeably, but the two services address quite different needs. In-home care agencies tailor non-medical services for their clients, which may include assisting with personal care, shopping for essentials and light housekeeping. Home health care agencies offer basic medical support from professionals, such as skilled nurses and qualified therapists. Despite the differences, average costs in Arkansas are almost identical, with in-home care fees at around $4,185 per month and home health care at $4,195.

This guide discusses costs in more detail, including support afforded by Medicaid and Medicare. It also lists some useful resources for homebound seniors.

The Cost of In-Home Care in Arkansas

The results of the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey show Arkansas to be $772 per month cheaper for in-home care compared to the $4,957 national median, which makes it one of the most affordable states in the region. Only Louisiana, where costs average $3,623, and Mississippi, where the norm is $3,813, are more competitive. Other neighboring states are considerably costlier, such as Texas, where the average is $4,576 (an annual increase of $4,692 when compared to Arkansas), and Missouri, at $4,767. The region’s most expensive state for in-home care is Oklahoma, which, at $4,862 per month, costs its seniors $8,124 more per year than they might pay in Arkansas.

Arkansas

$4185

The United States

$4957

Louisiana

$3623

Oklahoma

$4862

Missouri

$4767

Mississippi

$3813

Texas

$4576

At $3,909 per month, Jonesboro is the most affordable city in Arkansas for in-home care. The difference with Pine Bluff, where costs average $4,004, is slightly less than $100, but that could make a difference to some over the course of the year. The median cost in Fort Smith is $4,176, which is around the state’s average, and Little Rock’s typical fee of $4,290 is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. At $4,957 per month, the average fee for in-home care in Fayetteville is, by far, the costliest in the state.

Little Rock

$4290

Pine Bluff

$4004

Fort Smith

$4176

Fayetteville

$4957

Jonesboro

$3909

Adult day health care centers offer the most affordable care in Arkansas, with fees in the region of $1,733 per month. Assisted living facilities levy about $2,027 more for their services, which include care and accommodation. At $6,083 per month, nursing homes are the costliest option because their care is administered by highly qualified professionals, including physicians, and the staff-to-senior ratio is narrower. Costs for in-home care ($4,185) and home health care ($4,195) are also at the higher end of the scale, but they reflect the one-on-one care that each provider delivers.

In-Home Care

$4185

Home Health Care

$4195

Adult Day Health Care

$1733

Assisted Living Facility

$3760

Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)

$6083

Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Arkansas?

Arkansas’ Medicaid pays medical and non-medical costs for home care via programs and waivers. The ARChoices in Homecare program mostly covers non-medical services, but it can pay for skilled nursing in certain circumstances. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is a medical and non-medical option that combines services available via Medicare and Medicaid, and the Self-Direction/Independent Choices Program is a non-medical choice for seniors able to manage their care services.

Home Care Waiver Programs in Arkansas

The following waiver programs can help seniors with varying qualifying criteria. Some, such as the PACE program can help adults younger than 65 years, while the Self-Direction/Independent Choices Program may be better for seniors who prefer to personally manage their care.

How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Arkansas

In Arkansas, as of 2022, a single person applying for Medicaid cannot have an annual income that exceeds $10,092 or assets valued at more than $2,000. In a two-person household where both spouses apply, the limits are $15,132 for combined income and $3,000 for assets.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arkansas

Income limits*Asset limits
$10,092$2,000
$15,132$3,000

*Per year

  • Be a U.S. citizen or hold legal residency status
  • Reside in Arkansas
  • Have one or more qualifying health issues that justify nursing home care

How to Apply for Medicaid in Arkansas

Although Arkansans can apply for several programs online, the state’s only method of applying for Medicaid is through downloading an LTSS Medicaid Application Packet and sending a completed copy with supporting documents to the nearest Department of Human Services county office.

What Information You Will Need

All applicants need to provide documentary evidence to support the information in their applications. These typically include:

  • Social Security card
  • INS card, if not a U.S. citizen
  • Medicare card
  • Health insurance card
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage license or divorce decree
  • Proof of income, such as a retirement benefits letter
  • Proof of resources, such as property deeds and life insurance policies

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

In addition to speaking to a representative of Arkansas’ Medicaid program, seniors may also benefit from alternative resources. The three listed here can provide detailed information about the program and support seniors who may encounter legal issues relating to paying for home care services.

ProgramContactAreaServedServices provided
Legal Aid of Arkansas(870) 972-9224StatewideLegal Aid of Arkansas is a nonprofit law firm that helps seniors on low incomes faced with matters involving civil law, which includes Medicaid issues. Examples of how the firm can help include challenging Medicaid-denied decisions and using legal means to convert countable assets into non-countable assets.
Medicaid.govOnline OnlyStatewideMedicaid.gov is a federal website with extensive and current information about Medicaid in Arkansas. In addition to being a rich source of information, it also lets visitors check if they're eligible for the program or, if already enrolled, apply for a new Medicaid card.
American Council on AgingEmail OnlyStatewideSeniors who prefer to conduct their own research may find the American Council of Aging's website useful. Its content is written by experienced Medicaid planning and eligibility experts with particular knowledge of the program in Arkansas. Although it's an online-only resource, there may be some scope for additional support via email requests.

Does Medicare Cover In-Home Care in Arkansas?

In general, Medicare does not cover the cost of non-medical home care. That being said, there are situations in which Medicare provides some coverage for medical home care, referred to as “Home Healthcare.” There are several eligibility restrictions for coverage, including that individuals must be homebound and have a referral from their doctor specifically for home healthcare services.

Below is an overview of some of the skilled medical professionals whose in-home services are typically covered by Medicare – for more in-depth information, refer to our Guide to Home Healthcare.

  • Physical Therapists: Physical therapy is used to help patients recover from injuries (broken bones, knee injuries, etc.), treat ongoing conditions such as arthritis, and assist in recovery from surgeries and procedures such as a knee or hip replacement.
  • Visiting Nurses: Licensed nurses can provide a number of medical services for those who don’t need to stay in the hospital, but do need regular medical services such as wound care, changing feeding tubes, etc.
  • Occupational Therapists: Occupational therapists help seniors regain or maintain the ability to accomplish normal, daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and other daily activities.
  • Speech Therapists: Speech therapists help seniors who are struggling to adequately communicate due to a stroke, dementia, or any other cause regain the ability to functionally communicate using a variety of means. Additionally, speech therapists help to keep seniors independent by modifying diets, teaching special techniques to swallow safely, and retraining associated muscles.

As mentioned above, in-home care is distinctly different from home healthcare. But, there can be some overlap in services between the two types of care. So, while Medicare doesn’t cover non-medical in-home care, there are in-home care services that may be covered in special circumstances when they’re provided in conjunction with home healthcare (such as an occupational therapist helping with eating or dressing)

Other Financial Assistance Options for In-Home Care in Arkansas

While the above programs help many people finance in-home care, they will not cover all costs for everyone. There are other ways to pay for in-home care, including out-of-pocket arrangements with siblings, annuities, reverse mortgages, private insurance and more. Read Caring.com’s Guide to In-Home Care Costs to learn more about these alternative payment options.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Arkansas

There are many government resources available to Arkansans for free or at a low cost. Those listed here can help make homes safer and reduce their reliance on energy sources. There’s also help for seniors who may be struggling to access regular healthy meals and affordable transportation services. 

ResourceContactAreaServedService
Weatherization Assistance ProgramLocal Provider ListStatewideThe Weatherization Assistance Program pays for conservation services that can reduce energy consumption, and therefore costs, for seniors on low incomes. Applicants can request a home energy audit at any time of the year. Depending on the audit's findings, the program can cover all costs for sealing air leaks, insulating attics and sidewalls, weatherstripping joints and making minor repairs. To be eligible, the applicant must have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance ProgramCommunity-Based OrganizationsStatewideThe Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program can contribute to the costs of heating and cooling the homes of eligible seniors. The household's total income is the primary factor determining eligibility. As of 2022, a one-person household qualifies if the senior's income doesn't exceed $1,859 per month, and a two-person household cannot be more than $2,430. The program is administered at a local level, so seniors should contact their nearest Community-Based Organization if they want more information or wish to apply.
Homestead Tax CreditMultiple ContactsStatewideHomeowners can claim one property tax credit of up to $375 per year on their primary address in Arkansas, even if the property is owned by a revocable or irrevocable trust. Residents aged 65+ and those with disabilities who qualify for the credit can also request the taxable assessed value of their properties be frozen from their 65th birthday or the date of their disability. If the applicant's primary property is purchased after these dates, its taxable value can be frozen from the purchase date. To apply, seniors should contact their local county assessor's office.
Meals on WheelsMultiple ContactsStatewideMeals on Wheels is a free service offered locally by Arkansas' Area Agencies on Aging. They deliver fresh and nutritious meals to homebound adults aged 60+ who are unable to prepare their own. Although menus regularly change to provide as much variety as possible, every meal is approved by a registered dietician and contains at least one-third of the nutrients recommended for older adults. The program's additional benefit is the volunteer driver's well-being check at the time of delivery. As an alternative, those eligible for the service can visit their local center and enjoy a congregate meal with other seniors.
Non-Emergency Transportation Services(866) 245-5498StatewideThe Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging administers non-emergency transportation services throughout the state. The services can be used for many purposes, such as going to church, visiting friends, shopping and attending medical and dental appointments. Availability and the scope of services depend on location, so seniors looking for local information should contact their Area Agency on Aging.

In-Home Care Laws and Regulations in Arkansas

In Arkansas, in-home care is provided by private care agencies and is licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health. The department enforces guidelines regarding home caregiver training requirements, licensing applications and renewals and clients’ rights.

TopicRule
Scope of CarePrivate care agencies only provide nonmedical services for patients. These services include companion care, assistance with activities of daily living, hygiene or grooming.
Care Plan RequirementsAgencies that provide in-home care must perform an initial evaluation visit to determine the needs and condition of the client, what services will be provided and who will provide those services. The Aide Service Plan must also outline the scope and frequency of visits. At least annually, visits must be supervised by a registered nurse.
Medication Management RequirementsTrained in-home assistants may provide reminders for self-administered medications.
Staff Screening RequirementsPrior to hiring an employee, agencies must conduct a criminal history check to determine eligibility for employment.
Staff Training RequirementsPersonal care services can only be provided by aides who have completed an approved 40-hour training course. This course covers numerous topics, including body functions, communication skills, nutrition, ambulation, oral hygiene, transfer techniques, meal preparation and nail and skin care. Additionally, aides must receive 12 hours of ongoing training annually. Some caregivers are exempt from these training requirements, including those who have worked for at least a year in a hospital, home health agency, long-term care facility or hospice. Certified nursing assistants, relatives of the patient, registered nurses, physicians and licensed social workers all qualify as caregivers.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid pays for in-home care under the ARChoices in Homecare waiver program and the Independent Choices demonstration waiver.
Reporting AbuseSuspected cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation should be reported to Adult Protective Services by calling 800-482-8049.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Find an In-Home Care Provider in Arkansas

Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one, finding a quality home care provider can be a stressful process. When you hire an in-home care aide you’re placing a lot of trust in the hands of the person by inviting them into your home, so you’ll want to be diligent in your search. At Caring.com, we’re here to help – we’ve created a helpful checklist below that can help guide you through the process of both determining your needs and finding a home care agency that will provide the best care possible.

Download
Finding a Home Care Provider Checklist

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Caring.com

Caring.com is a leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. We offer thousands of original articles, helpful tools, advice from more than 50 leading experts, a community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of caregiving services.

 

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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