May 10, 2024

Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care?

As a physical therapy professional or practice owner, it's crucial to understand how Medicare covers home health care services. Learning coverage rules, regulations, and exceptions can seem daunting. However, understanding the essentials of what insurance covers in-home care will help you guide patients effectively. This comprehensive guide will explore everything you need to know about Medicare home health coverage and its implications for physical therapy practices.

What Is Medicare Home Health Care?

Medicare home health care refers to medical services provided in a patient's home to treat injuries or illnesses. Unlike traditional clinical settings, this service aims to improve health outcomes without requiring patients to travel, which can be challenging due to limited mobility.

What Does Medicare Home Health Cover?

Medicare covers a range of home health care services through two main components:

  1. Part A (Hospital Insurance): Provides inpatient benefits for home health care services if delivered by hospital staff.
  2. Part B (Medical Insurance): Primarily handles outpatient services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and durable medical equipment (DME).

Conditions for Coverage

For a patient to receive Medicare home health care benefits, certain conditions must be met:

  • Doctor’s Certification: A physician must certify that home health care services, including physical therapy, are medically necessary.
  • Plan of Care: A doctor must create and regularly review a care plan tailored to the patient’s needs.
  • Homebound Status: The patient must be homebound, meaning their condition makes leaving the home exceptionally difficult.
  • Medicare-Approved Agency: The home health agency providing care must be approved by Medicare.

An image of a physical therapist providing inhome care to a patient covered by Medicare for physical therapy services

Does Medicare Cover In-Home Physical Therapy?

Yes, Medicare covers in-home physical therapy if the services are considered reasonable and necessary for treating specific conditions. Coverage includes:

  • Physical Therapy Sessions: Light exercises like stretching and muscle training to improve strength and mobility.
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Walkers, canes, railings, or other equipment required for recovery and prescribed by the physician.
  • Skilled Therapist Visits: Visits to the patient's home for therapy sessions.

Understanding the Costs and Limitations

Coverage under Original Medicare

  • Full Coverage: If physical therapy is deemed medically necessary, Medicare typically covers 100% of its cost.
  • Durable Medical Equipment: For DME like wheelchairs and walkers, patients pay their Part B deductible and 20% of the remaining cost.

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans offer the same coverage as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) but often include additional benefits like gym memberships or nutrition classes. Each plan is different, and it’s crucial to ensure that the patient’s chosen plan will adequately meet their home health care needs.


  • 24-Hour Care: Medicare doesn't cover 24-hour home care services.
  • Custodial Care: Assistance with daily living activities (e.g., dressing, bathing) isn't covered if not paired with skilled care.
  • Homemaker Services: Non-medical support like cleaning or meal delivery isn't included.

The Physical Therapist's Role in Medicare Home Health Care

Creating a Plan of Care

The plan of care is essential for receiving Medicare benefits. Physical therapists must work closely with doctors to ensure the treatment plan aligns with Medicare’s requirements. The plan should include measurable goals, specific therapies, and the duration/frequency of therapy sessions.

Ensuring Compliance

As a physical therapy practice, maintaining compliance with Medicare’s documentation requirements is critical. All progress notes, session details, and patient assessments should be meticulously recorded. These records will substantiate the medical necessity of home health care services.

Patient Communication

Educating patients about Medicare's rules and insurance coverage is vital. Patients are often unfamiliar with Medicare's limitations, so helping them understand the extent of their coverage ensures they receive the appropriate care without unexpected financial burdens.

How to Maximize Medicare Home Health Coverage

  1. Assess Early: Conduct thorough assessments early to establish a patient’s eligibility and determine the appropriate treatment plan.
  2. Regular Monitoring: Schedule follow-ups to monitor progress and adjust the plan as necessary.
  3. Coordinate with Agencies: Collaborate with approved home health agencies for seamless care delivery.

Leveraging PtEverywhere for Enhanced Medicare Coverage Management

Physical therapy software like PtEverywhere can significantly enhance your ability to manage and maximize Medicare coverage benefits for your patients. By integrating PtEverywhere into your practice, you can streamline documentation and compliance processes, ensuring all Medicare requirements are met efficiently and accurately.

  • Comprehensive Documentation: Automatically capture and store detailed session notes and patient progress.
  • Plan of Care Management: Easily update and maintain care plans, ensuring they meet Medicare standards.
  • Direct Communication: Facilitate better communication within your team and with patients, enhancing care coordination and adherence to treatment plans.

This software becomes an essential tool in managing Medicare documentation and patient care coordination.

Mastering Home Health Coverage Has Never Been Easier

Understanding the intricacies of Medicare home health care is essential for physical therapy professionals who want to provide the best care while ensuring their patients receive maximum benefits. By mastering Medicare’s eligibility requirements, coverage limitations, and the process of creating compliant plans of care, you can guide your patients effectively through in-home therapy. Leveraging specialized software like PtEverywhere can simplify the documentation and management processes, helping your practice deliver high-quality care with confidence.

Ready to streamline your practice and maximize Medicare benefits? Visit PtEverywhere to learn how our software can revolutionize your approach to home health care management and ensure compliance with ease.