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Paying for home health care – your options, strategies for reducing costs, and more!

Nov 22, 2018 · 8 minutes to read

Wondering how to pay for home health care? Home health care and home health aide can be quite expensive. Even if you or a loved one only hire a home health aide for part-time care for basic things – like transportation, mobility and personal care – the costs can mount up quickly.

So, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the ways you can reduce the cost of home health care, and make sure you can pay for a professional home health aide. Read on and learn more about how to pay for home health care for the elderly, or for a loved one with disabilities.

How to Get Help Paying For Home Health Care

There are many ways to get help for paying for home health care, from insurances to charities, finding a lower-cost service provider and more. In the next section of our guide, we’ll discuss all of your options for getting assistance paying for home health care.

First, however, we’ll be taking a look at the cost of home health aide, how much most health care agencies charge for their services, and the average cost of at-home health care on an annual basis.

What Is Home Health Aide?

Home health aide is a service that is usually provided by a dedicated home health care agency. These agencies hire a number of home health “aides”, who can assist you or your loved one with everyday tasks, such as:

  • Transportation (such as to doctor’s appointments)
  • Personal care (bathing, grooming, eating, etc)
  • Cleaning and keeping the home safe

A home health aide will, essentially, perform all of the tasks that you or a loved one needs in order to live a safe, happy life, and age in place.

How Much Do Home Health Care Agencies Charge?

How much should you be paying for home health care services? This depends on a multitude of factors, but most certified home health aides will cost about $20 per hour, though some experienced or specialized providers may charge more.

Your location is also a big factor in determining the market rate for home health care agencies. For example, in Alaska, home health care agencies may charge up to $35 per hour, but in Kentucky, the cost could be less than $20 per hour.

As a rule of thumb, though, you should anticipate spending at least $20-$40 per hour for at-home care.

Any company who offers a much lower rate for their services, compared to the average in your area, may not be properly licensed and certified. They may even lack Home Health Care provider insurance, which could put your loved ones at risk, should something go wrong while your health care aide is providing care to your loved ones.

Average Healthcare Cost Per Year

How much will you be paying for home health care services per year? A number of different factors can influence this – such as how many home health aides you employ, the hours they work, and the special needs of an elderly relative or loved one.

However, according to Care.com, the average salary of a home health aide is $19 per hour. According to Senior Advisor, you’ll pay about $45,000 for a full-time home health aide. For a part-time aide (20 hours per week) you’ll pay about half that sum. This may vary based upon the state in which you live, and many other factors.

This may seem expensive, but it’s still cheaper than a nursing home or assisted living center, which can cost up to $90,000 per year.

For more information about the cost of home care, you can take a look at this blog post, and get further details about the average salary range of a home health aide, and other helpful information.

Assistance Paying For Home Health Care

Most people don’t have the means to simply pay the high costs of home health care out of pocket without draining their savings.

Need help paying for home health care services? Not sure where to find the money to afford a full-time – or even a part-time – home health aide? The good news is that there are a few options you might be able to use in order to get the care you or a loved one needs.

Life Insurance Conversion

When paying for home health care services, elderly individuals may have the option of life insurance conversion.

A life insurance conversion is used to turn a term life insurance policy – which only lasts for a certain number of years – to a permanent, whole life policy or universal life insurance policy.

This is usually cheaper than purchasing a new term life insurance policy, and allows those who are older or disabled to maintain their life insurance coverage – without having to go through another physical exam.

A life insurance conversion ensures that, once a loved one does pass, their beneficiaries will get a sum of money that can be used to pay down any outstanding medical debt incurred by long-term care.

Paying A Family Member For Home Health Care

This is often a great way to save money on home health care. A family member is the ideal person to care for a loved one – particularly a close relative.

If you have a family member who is open to the idea, you could pay them an hourly wage – and have them live with your loved one – in order to provide them with 24/7 care. This is usually much cheaper than hiring a professional.

In addition, you or your loved one can usually write off paying family for home health care taxes, ensuring a lower tax bill. It’s a win-win situation!

Government Programs To Assist People In Paying For Home Health Care

If you are having trouble paying for elder home health care, you may be eligible for government subsidies and programs to help you or your loved one get the assistance they need to age in place. For example, low or middle-income families may qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Here are a few helpful resources that can help you understand what programs are available in your area:

After you’ve viewed these resources, you may be able to get most – or all – of your loved one’s care covered, depending on your own financial situation and their age, disabilities, or status as a veteran.

Home Health Aide Insurance

Long-term care insurance, also sometimes called Home Health Aide insurance, may be a viable option if your loved one is still in good health, and does not yet need at-home care. Long-term care insurance can be quite expensive, but if it’s purchased while the policyholder is in relatively good health, it can be much cheaper than paying for home health care out of pocket. For more information about long term health insurance, this article from NerdWallet is a helpful resource.

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage allows an older individual to convert their home’s equity into a lump sum payment, and stay in their home. This allows for access to quite a bit of money, which can be used to pay for home health care. The home will, eventually, become the property of the lender. However, in most cases, this does not occur until the death of the current resident.

The primary benefit of a reverse mortgage is that it allows an older individual to access the money in their home – just like they would if they sold it – but remain in place, without the stress of moving to another area, or an assisted-living facility.

In some cases, a reverse mortgage may be the best option for you. However, selling the home and moving yourself or your loved one into a new, smaller home – or an assisted living facility – may be a better option, in some cases.

Loans

While it’s not ideal, it is possible to take out loans to cover the long-term care of a loved one. There are a number of different specialized loan products out there which can be used to cover the cost of home care, skilled nursing facilities, and other such assisted living costs.

However, this can lead to a high debt load for either you, or your loved one. This can result in the loss of most of their estate to debtors once they pass – and, if you take out a loan to pay for your loved one’s care, you’ll still be responsible for paying it off once they have passed.

For this reason, loans should be your last resort. Look into all of the other above options before you take out a loan for at-home care.

Looking For Affordable Home Health Care? Follow This Guide

If you need to reduce the costs of home health care for you or a loved one, this guide is sure to help. For more information and tips for guiding your loved one’s long-term care, please take a look at our blog, and get even more information on the subject!

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