April 11, 2024
4 minute read

Getting an in-home visit? Here’s what you should know

Getting to the doctor can be challenging. Perhaps you have vision problems or joint pain that makes it difficult to drive. Or maybe you have an injury or condition that needs to be checked often.

In these situations, you may be a candidate for in-home care. This is where a medical provider drives to your house, so you don’t have to go to a doctor’s office for each appointment.

Medicare, Medicaid and some other private insurers may provide varying degrees of coverage for this service.

“Home visits are invaluable,” says Jennifer L. FitzPatrick. She’s the author of Cruising through Caregiving: Reducing the Stress of Caring for Your Loved One and a former gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University’s Certificate on Aging program. “Health care providers can see how a person truly lives, which provides insights into their health.”

Plus, there’s the convenience. For those who qualify, staying at home can increase comfort and save you money (and gas) on transportation without sacrificing your quality of care.

Here’s what to know about in-home care and whether you qualify.

Do you need health insurance? Call a licensed insurance agent at (800) 827-9990 to talk about plans, or browse your options online today.

What types of at-home doctor services do plans provide?

It’s worth noting up front that the services plans offer will vary based on your provider. So, it’s important to read your plan’s brochure (or contact your insurer) to figure out what benefits may be available to you.

Here are some examples from state- and federal-run plans:

 Medicaid. States are required to offer home- and community-based services (HCBS). But they each determine the details of the coverage.

Because of that, the specific services available and who’s eligible for them can vary from state to state. In some areas, you may need a qualifying condition such as autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury or HIV/AIDS. But if you qualify, you may be eligible for long-term at-home care.

Medicare. Medicare will typically only approve daily home services for 3 weeks or less. If you need longer care, you may need to receive it in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

To qualify for Medicare’s short-term in-home services, you must need regular care but have trouble leaving your home without help. If that applies to you, having a provider come to your home can be a huge convenience.

What can I expect with at-home care?

Most of the time, at-home care is provided by a nurse or physician assistant. These professionals will come to your house at the scheduled time to provide the care you need. Some of the things that may happen during your visit may include:

  • You may get your vital signs checked. This includes blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and breathing rate. These are all things you might have checked at a typical doctor’s appointment.
  • Your provider may dress your wounds or bedsores. If you have bandages that need to be changed, your at-home provider will be able to assist you. They may also teach you how to do it yourself, so you can continue caring for a wound when they’re away.
  • You may talk through your diet. If you’re having trouble with foods or fluids, your provider may be able to administer intravenous fluids or nutrition therapy.
  • You may discuss your medications. Many older adults are on multiple prescription drugs that can interact with each other. Your medical provider can look at everything you’re taking to identify any potential issues.
    They may also be able to help if you’re running low on a medication but are unable to get to the pharmacy, says FitzPatrick. For example, they may help you get your prescriptions delivered.

Living with a chronic condition? There may be health plans available to fit your needs. Learn more now, or call a licensed insurance agent at (800) 827-9990 to discuss your options.

  • You may receive physical therapy. If you have mobility issues due to an injury or illness, your care team may arrange for a physical therapist to come to your house. They’ll focus on helping you improve your ability to move and function.
  • Your provider may do a home safety check. They may examine your home for clutter, loose or missing handrails, poor lighting and other safety hazards.

Addressing these issues can help you stay in your home longer. More than 1 in 4 older adults falls each year, and 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury. This includes hip fractures that could land you in the hospital — or even in a nursing home, permanently.

“As you age, your eyesight diminishes and your gait isn’t as good as it used to be,” says FitzPatrick. “It’s good to have a fresh pair of eyes look at your home for hidden hazards.”

  • You can learn tips for self-care. You may learn how to perform at-home therapies or manage chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. These skills will be important when your provider is not there.

In addition, you’ll learn how to recognize and act on potential issues related to your condition. This may include checking your feet for infected cuts or what to do if you feel a shortness of breath.

  • You can discuss other issues on your mind. When you go to a regular doctor’s visit, they may be in a rush to see you. But with an at-home health visit, chances are good that your provider will be less hurried, says FitzPatrick. You’ll have more time to talk through your health issues and learn how to take care of yourself. You may also be more relaxed, since you’ll be in the comfort of your own home.

What should I know about at-home wellness visits?

Home health visits aren’t just for when you have medical problems. They can help you stay on top of your health, too.

Some Medicare plans may offer at-home health assessments. These are yearly at-home check-ins with a provider that you can get in your home. It’s included in your health plan, and it lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

If you have questions about plans with at-home wellness visits, call a licensed insurance agent at (800) 827-9990 to discuss your options.

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© 2023 HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. All rights reserved.

To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week).

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.

Attention: This website is operated by HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace® website. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency nationwide except in MA. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in an insurance plan. No obligation to enroll. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PPFS organizations and stand-alone prescription drug plans. Each of the organizations we represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. The plans we represent do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the Plan’s customer service phone number for more information.

50686-HM-0324

© 2023 HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. All rights reserved.

To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week).

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.

Attention: This website is operated by HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace® website. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency nationwide except in MA. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in an insurance plan. No obligation to enroll. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PPFS organizations and stand-alone prescription drug plans. Each of the organizations we represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. The plans we represent do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the Plan’s customer service phone number for more information.

50686-HM-0324

© 2023 HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. All rights reserved.

To send a complaint to Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1- 877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week).

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program to get information on all of your options.

Attention: This website is operated by HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace® website. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency nationwide except in MA. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in an insurance plan. No obligation to enroll. Agent cannot provide tax or legal advice. Contact your tax or legal professional to discuss details regarding your individual business circumstances. Our quoting tool is provided for your information only. All quotes are estimates and are not final until consumer is enrolled. Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PPFS organizations and stand-alone prescription drug plans. Each of the organizations we represent has a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. The plans we represent do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

This information is not a complete description of benefits. Call the Plan’s customer service phone number for more information.

50686-HM-0324