Original Medicare (A and B) can provide for limited and temporary housekeeping services. This is where the patient needs in-home care after covered surgery and injury. Medicare may provide a home-care provider for a temporary period. Such a a person is often allowed to do light housekeeping duties, such as simple dish cleaning, light laundry and table clearing and similar work. Heavier and more broad house cleaning, such as bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, window cleaning and the like are never covered by Medicare A or B.
Medicare now allows private health insurance companies to sell and provide extra services to Medicare patients – known as Medicare (Part C) Advantage Plans. Those extra services vary per what plan you buy, which varies. Typical extra services include dental, vision and expanded drug coverage. Some of these Advantage plans will also cover house cleaning services, but they are usually limited.
Typically, covered house cleaning will be allowed if it is linked to a specific health need. A good example of this would be chronic asthma and other breathing related conditions. In this case, periodic dusting, rug cleaning, drape cleaning, washing of bedding and vacuuming can be covered. However, this is only on a periodic basis (not regularly). Another possible example is if a patient has an immunity deficiency condition, it might be possible to have disinfectant cleaning services covered.
In any event, at least currently, even an Advantage plan will not cover regular, broad based house cleaning services.
Some Medicare Advantage plans include in-home caregiving services. This often includes helping patients to physically get around, taking needed medicines and treatments, eating meal and getting dressed. These care givers need to do some basic housekeeping duties, including simple dishwashing and cleaning. However, they are not supposed to be a “maid”, who does regular and full general house cleaning.
It is possible that some of these Advantage plans will start covering more regular and general house cleaning services, especially for patients who are very infirm, disabled and chronically ill.
These two services have long been a source of confusion. However, in Medicare, these are very different services.
Home care services include:
– Skilled nursing care, which can be part-time or intermittent
– Physical therapy
– Occupational therapy
– Medical social services
– Home health services, which can be part-time or intermittent
– Speech pathology services
House-cleaning services include
– Laundry services
– Floor and carpet cleaning
– Bathroom cleaning
Home-care services are covered by Medicare Part A and Part B; they do not require any special plan. However, to enjoy any kind of ongoing house-cleaning service, seniors need to also be part of a Medicare Advantage plan.