If your loved one meets specific eligibility criteria, they can obtain home health care services under either Medicare’s home health care or hospice benefits.

Your loved one qualifies for the home health care benefit if a doctor certifies that they are homebound and requires skilled care.

They qualify under the hospice benefit if they have a terminal illness, have less than six months to live, and elect to receive Medicare palliative care from a Medicare-certified hospice agency.

Medicare will cover skilled nursing care and personal care services (such as feeding or bathing) if your loved one qualifies for either of these benefits. It will only cover homemaker or custodial care services (such as cooking and cleaning) if your loved one qualifies for the hospice benefit.

However, it is likely that Medicare will never cover all of your loved one’s long-term care needs. Long-term care (commonly abbreviated as LTC) refers to a range of medical, personal and social services designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities, chronic illnesses or ongoing limitations in their ability to function independently.