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Managing Cancer Care

Who Pays for Home Care?

For most home care to be covered by public and private payers it must be considered medically necessary. You must also meet certain coverage requirements. Different private insurance plans have different policies, and you may need to call them to find out what they cover.

Government programs

  • Medicare covers certain home health care costs through the Part A and Part B. See their website for information.
  • Veterans' Administration (VA) benefits also cover some home health care. See their website for information.
  • Medicaid requires states to provide home health benefits to those in need. However, programs are different in each state. Find more information about your state's Medicaid program.

Private third-party payers

  • Commercial health insurance companies: Many private insurance companies cover skilled medical care but not personal care. Coverage often depends on whether the care is found to be medically necessary and if a person meets criteria spelled out in the plan. Contact your health care plan to get details about what your insurance will cover. Also check to see if you need pre-approval.
  • Managed care organizations: Some plans through managed care organizations cover home health care services. Managed care organizations that have contracts with Medicare must provide all the home health services that Medicare covers. Be sure to ask about your plan’s coverage and whether services need to be pre-approved.

Private pay or self-pay

  • Self-pay: If insurance coverage is not available or doesn’t cover all the care that you need, you and your family can hire providers and pay for services yourself. It may help to shop around, as these services can be expensive.
  • Community organizations: Some community groups, along with state and local governments, help pay for home health and personal care. Some agencies get donations from individuals and charity groups so they can provide care to anyone who needs it, whether or not they are able to pay. Depending on a person’s eligibility and financial need, these groups may pay for all or part of services. Hospital discharge planners, social workers, local offices on aging, the United Way, and your American Cancer Society can help you find out what’s offered in your area.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as editors and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Society of Clinical Oncology. Hiring Home Care Services.  Accessed at on July 13, 2021.

National Association for Home Care & Hospice. How Do I Select the Right Home Care Provider? Accessed at on July 9, 2021.

Nightingale Homecare. Understanding Home Health Care and Private Duty Services. Accessed at on July 20, 2021.

US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. More About Home Health Care. Accessed at on July 20, 2021. 

Last Revised: July 30, 2021

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