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"Homebound" - what does this mean?

What does homebound mean?

Homebound means that you are unable to leave your home without considerable difficultly.  Considerable difficulty here means with the assistance of another person or device, and when you do leave your home, it is for periods of short duration.  It does not mean that you decide to stay in your house so that you may receive home health services.  Also, your doctor cannot make you homebound by simply saying that you are.
Can you qualify for home health services without being homebound?

Not through Medicare. All Medicare patients must be considered homebound in order to qualify for home health services.

What kinds of activities may I leave the house for?

Medical appointments are considered necessary and are allowed.  Short trips to the barber shop or church service are considered acceptable.  Please note that those trips must take considerable and taxing effort to be defined as homebound.

Who decides that I am homebound?

The home health case manager who comes to your home makes the determination. This person is either a registered nurse or therapist.  The determination is based on your physical abilities and your habits.

Do all insurances that cover care in the home requireyou to be homebound?

Actually, no.  Medicaid does not require homebound status.  Some insurance providers do not have a homebound requirement.  Note that Medicare is the largest payor of home health services, and it is the one that requires a patient to be homebound.

Which type of care does NOT have a homebound requirement?

Hospice care, which is primarily provided in your home, does not require you to be homebound.  Medicaid home care does not require homebound status.  Private duty care that you pay for independently or with long term care insurance does not usually require you to be homebound.

I hope that I have answered your questions about the term homebound. 

About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

President & CEO

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