With nearly 1 in 5 Pennsylvania residents classified as senior citizens, the Department of Health and the Department of Aging provides older adults with numerous statewide and local resources, creating a great environment for older adults. Those seniors who wish to age in place can rest easy knowing that the state closely regulates in-home care providers, and the average cost of in-home care is $4,385 – only slightly more than the national average.

Read on to learn more about the cost of in-home care in Pennsylvania, the options for financial assistance in the state, and additional free and low-cost resources for seniors.

The Cost of In-Home Care in Pennsylvania

In-Home Care Costs in Nearby States

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, one can expect to pay an average of $4,385 per month for in-home care services in Pennsylvania. This is just slightly more expensive than the U.S. national average of $4,290 per month. In-home care in Pennsylvania is significantly less expensive than in mid-Atlantic neighboring states New York and New Jersey, and slightly less expensive than in Maryland. However, it’s pricier than in Ohio.

$4385

Pennsylvania

$4290

United States Average

$4767

New York

$4767

New Jersey

$4481

Maryland

$4290

Ohio

Cost of Other Types of Care in Pennsylvania

In-home care is one of the more affordable types of senior care in Pennsylvania. It is just slightly less expensive than home health care, which costs about $100 more per month than in-home care services, at $4,481. Skilled nursing care is by far the most expensive type of care both in Pennsylvania and nationally, with an average cost of $9,733 in Pennsylvania. However, assisted living and adult day care are more affordable than in-home care, costing an average of $3,913 and $1,457 per month, respectively. 

$4385

In-Home Care

$4481

Home Health Care

$1457

Adult Day Care

$3913

Assisted Living

$9733

Nursing Home Care

Cost of Home Care in Pennsylvania’s Top Cities 

The cost of in-home care in Pennsylvania varies by about $300 between the top five most populous cities in the state. The most expensive city for in-home care is Philadelphia, where it costs an average of $4,671 per month- about $3,600 more per year than the state average. Erie, located in the northwest corner of the state, also has somewhat expensive care compared to the state average of $4,385, at $4,528 per month. The other three most populous cities- Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Reading- have a cost of in-home care right on par with the state average at $4,385 per month. 

$4671

Philadelphia

$4385

Pitssburgh

$4385

Allentown

$4528

Erie

$4385

Reading

Financial Assistance for In-Home Care in Pennsylvania

Community HealthChoices

The Community HealthChoices program was introduced in 2018 to help seniors coordinate and finance their care and/or devices or services that they need for healthy aging. The goal is to prevent unwanted nursing home placement and allow seniors to age in their communities. Benefits include, but are not limited to, in-home care, home nursing care, assistive technology, respite care, and home adaptations. 

Community HealthChoices replaced Pennsylvania’s Aging Waiver, Attendant Care Program, and Independence Waiver. All individuals who were receiving benefits from one of these programs were automatically transitioned to Community HealthChoices. 

Who is Eligible?
Program beneficiaries must either qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare or receive long-term supports through Medicaid. Additionally, program beneficiaries must have a physician’s letter stating that they require a nursing home level of care. 

How to Apply
Interested Pennsylvanians may apply for Community HealthChoices by calling 1-877-550-4227 or online at www.compass.state.pa.gov

Caregiver Support Program

The Caregiver Support Program does not pay for in-home care received through a hired aide or service. Rather, it reimburses “informal” caregivers like family members and friends for costs associated with caregiving, helping to reduce the financial burden of caregiving for a loved one. In addition to monetary assistance, the program provides caregiver training and education. 

Who is Eligible?
There are three eligibility categories for the Caregiver Assistance Program, but all seniors receiving in-home care will fall into category one (categories 2 and 3 involve persons ages 18-59 receiving in-home care). In order to qualify under category one, the person receiving care must be age 60 or older and have functional deficits, and the caregiver must be 18 or older. The caregiver and person receiving care are not required to be related, and there are no financial eligibility requirements, although the amount of reimbursement that one receives is based on their income. 

Those receiving benefits from Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports are not eligible for the Caregiver Assistance Program. 

How to Apply
Those interested in the Caregiver Assistance Program should contact their local Area Agency on Aging

LIFE (Living Independent for the Elderly)

The LIFE waiver program provides in-home services and supports for seniors to promote independent aging so those who require nursing or rehabilitation care can continue to live in their communities. Program beneficiaries receive comprehensive services that are individually tailored to their needs. Most beneficiaries pay nothing out of pocket for services received through LIFE. 

LIFE is Pennsylvania’s name for the national PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program.  

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for LIFE, one must be at least 55 years old, require a nursing home or skilled rehabilitation facility level of care, and meet certain financial requirements. The financial eligibility is set at the county level and varies on a county-to-county basis. 

How to Apply
Those interested in applying for LIFE may call 1-844-824-3655 or visit www.palifeprograms.org

More Ways to Pay for Home Care

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 In-Home Care Resources in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents have several resources available to them to enable in-home care and independent aging. These include meal delivery, care management and direction, home modifications, and more.

ContactServices Provided
Services My Way1-800-692-7462Services My Way helps seniors and/or disabled adults to develop personalized care plans, find providers, and implement a budget for care. 
Help at HomeContact your local Area Agency on AgingHelp at Home provides those 60 years of age or older with in-home services such as transportation, respite, personal assistance, home modifications, and more. 
Home-Delivered MealsContact your local Area Agency on AgingEligible seniors can have meals delivered directly to their homes free of cost. 
Pennsylvania Homecare Association1-800-382-1211The PHA is a membership organization for home care providers that also advocates on behalf of patients on both a federal and state level.  
Prescription Assistance1-800-225-7223Pennsylvania’s prescription assistance programs, PACE and PACENET, provide eligible seniors with low-cost prescription medications. 
Long-Term Care Ombudsman717-783-8975 or LTC-ombudsman@pa.govThe ombudsman is responsible for resolving complaints on behalf of those receiving care in a long-term care facility or a state-licensed home care provider. 

In-Home Care Laws and Regulations in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is responsible for regulating home care providers in the state. The DOH conducts on-site compliance checks and interviews with staff and patients to ensure continued compliance. The table below gives an overview of the rules and regulations in the State of Pennsylvania. 

Scope of CareHome care agencies may provide assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, homemaking, companionship, respite, and any other non-skilled services that a patient may need. 
Care Plan RequirementsPrior to administering service, home care agencies must provide patients with information regarding the services they will receive, the identity of the person providing care, all costs and fees associated with care, and the hours when care will be administered. Patients have a right to be involved in the care planning process.  
Medication Management RequirementsHome care providers may assist patients with self-administered medications. 
Staff Screening RequirementsAll staff must undergo a criminal background check and child abuse screening. Those who will have direct contact with patients must be screened for tuberculosis. 
Staff Training RequirementsCare providers must either have a nursing license or pass a competency exam. Those who do not have a nursing license must also complete the Department of Health nurse aide certification or a training program approved by the state. Administrators should review staff competency at least once per year. 
Medicaid CoverageThe Community HealthChoices and LIFE waiver programs will cover some or all of the cost of in-home care for those who qualify. 
Reporting AbuseAbuse should be reported to the office of the long-term care ombudsman at 717-783-8975 or LTC-ombudsman@pa.gov. 


Home Care Services in Pennsylvania (1156)