How Seniors Are Receiving Medicare Covered Cleaning Services

Medicare is the national Federal program that provides medical care and related services to senior citizens over 65 years old. Medicare has many different kinds of coverage, that have been include in “Part A” and “Part B”. Medicare A and B do not include house cleaning services, but the newer “Part C” may do so.

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Many seniors need help to keep their home clean, even if they are basically healthy. The need is even higher for those who are infirm or ill. However, Medicare has in the past said that house cleaning is not a medical or health service and did not cover it. Because traditional A and B coverage did not include many desired services, such as dental and vision, Medicare started a new “Part C” coverage to cover these services. In some cases, this can include some house cleaning services.

Medicare and Limited Housekeeping Services

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.

Part C "Medicare Advantage" Plans and House Cleaning Services

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.

Possible Expansion Of Medicare Advantage's (Part C) Coverage

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.

Differences Between House-Cleaning and Home-Care Services Under Original Medicare

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

– Shopping

– 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.

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