Medicare is federal health insurance for people over 65, some younger people with disabilities, and those with end-stage renal disease. Coverage of housekeeping services under Medicare can depend on several factors.
Medicare is comprised of Part A and Part B coverage. It is often referred to as “original Medicare.”
Part A is free for most people and covers a certain number of days related to hospital inpatient stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care, and some home health care.
Part B covers doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. There is a monthly premium for Part B Medicare, plus cost sharing of any care received pursuant to Part A or B.
Original Medicare does not generally cover housekeeping services. Original Medicare labels these services as “homemaker” services, which also include shopping, cleaning, and laundry. If you cannot clean your home for medical reasons, then these costs would be out of pocket.
However, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover cleaning services. A Medicare Advantage Plan — also commonly referred to as Medicare Part C — is another way to get your Medicare coverage, except through a private insurance company. Many Medicare Advantage plans will cover things original Medicare may not cover and provide additional benefits. However, these companies must follow the rules set by Medicare.
Medicare now allows these private insurers to pay for some limited housecleaning if it is linked to a specific health issue. For example, if you suffer from asthma or breathing conditions, these plans may cover filtration or air cleaners, periodic washing of linens, vacuuming and carpet cleaning, and other similar services. If you suffer from an immune deficiency condition, it may be possible to get coverage for periodic disinfectant cleaning services.
However, ongoing or regular services are not likely to be covered.
A senior’s eligibility for Medicare Advantage plan options will depend on what plan options are offered in their area. For more information on Medicare coverage, reach out to an elder law attorney in your area.