TABLE OF CONTENTS
Per Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, in-home care costs an average of $4,185 per month. This typically covers assistance with daily activities and personal care provided by an aide. You can expect to pay $4,195 per month for home health care, which includes clinical or rehabilitative care provided by a nurse, therapist or other licensed health care professional.
At $4,185 per month, average costs of in-home care in Arkansas are $772 lower than the national norm of $4,957. Seniors in Oklahoma and Missouri typically pay more for the same type of care, with respective costs of $4,862 and $4,767. Average rates are lower in Mississippi, at $3,813 per month. Prices drop further to $3,623 in Louisiana.
Arkansas’s seniors also pay less than the national average for home health care, with fees of $4,195 and $5,148, respectively. With median monthly costs of $4,862 in Oklahoma and $4,767 in Missouri, Arkansas’s western and northern neighbors pay more for home health care. As with in-home care, prices for home health care are lower to the south and east; average monthly rates are $3,718 in Louisiana and $3,813 in Mississippi.
|Home Health Care
In Arkansas, nursing home care is the costliest senior care option, averaging $6,083 per month. Home health care costs around $4,195, with a slight saving for in-home care, which costs roughly $4,185 per month. Seniors typically pay around $3,760 per month for assisted living care. Adult day care averages $1,733 per month, making it the cheapest long-term care option for Arkansas seniors.
In Arkansas, Medicaid directly covers home health care. Limited personal care is also covered by the state Medicaid Personal Care Program.
The Personal Care Program covers medically necessary hands-on supportive services for seniors with physical dependency needs. Services may include assistance with:
Only those classified as categorically needy are eligible for assistance. You must also have an assessment to decide if you qualify for personal care services under the state Medicaid plan. If you’re eligible, a personalized care plan will detail your funded services.
Services are generally provided by an aide and are similar to tasks that would be carried out by a nurse’s aide if you were in a hospital or nursing home.
Under a self-directed model, known as the Independent Choices program, you can choose your care providers. Beneficiaries receive a cash allowance and are responsible for managing and directing their own care, including appointing caregivers. You can hire adult relatives to provide services if you prefer.
The ARChoices in Homecare waiver provides additional home care support beyond home health care and personal care.
ARChoices in Homecare
The ARChoices in Homecare waiver program provides various services to support Arkansas seniors who are aging at home or in the community. The program aims to delay or avoid admission to a nursing home.
Services may include assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and toileting, home-delivered meals, modifications to make your home more accessible and adult day services. The waiver also covers respite care either at home or in a facility, which provides a short break for your caregivers.
You can choose your own care providers, which can include paying family or friends to help you in your home. You’ll receive training to manage your own care and allocated budget.
To qualify for ARChoices in Homecare, you must be 65 or older or have a disability. You must also meet financial criteria and need at least one waiver service. You must also satisfy a functional requirement for a nursing home level of care. This means that, without in-home support, you would need to move into a nursing home.
To apply for waiver services, call the Choices In Living Resource Center at (866) 801-3435 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Alternatively, you can contact your local Arkansas Department of Human Services county office.
To be eligible for Arkansas Medicaid, you must satisfy income and asset requirements. For single applicants, the annual income limit is $18,075, and the asset cap is $2,000. For those from a two-person household, the maximum permitted income is $24,353, and the asset limit is $3,000.
You must also satisfy the following criteria:
You can conveniently apply online via the Access Arkansas portal. You can easily upload documents, check the status of pending claims and update relevant information.
If you prefer to apply by mail, you can download an application form and return it to your local DHS county office. Note: Office mailing addresses are different from their physical addresses and are provided at the end of the form. Alternatively, visit your local DHS county office to complete an in-person application.
What Information You Will Need
Medicaid has strict rules and eligibility criteria, and you will need to provide full information about your financial and personal situation. It can help if you gather the following information beforehand:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
Applying for Medicaid in Arkansas can be overwhelming, particularly because of the high level of information you need to provide. Luckily, Arkansas has resources to help you apply for Medicaid, check eligibility, appeal adverse decisions and understand coverage.
|The Access Arkansas website has text and video guides to help you navigate the application system. Support is available in English, Spanish and Marshallese, and speakers of other languages can request translation or interpreter services by calling the support line. Telephone advisors can also assist with completing applications and renewals and answer common questions about Medicaid and the online system.
|Arkansas Department of Human Services
|You can call or visit your local DHS county office for application assistance, eligibility advice and general Medicaid information.
|Choices In Living Resource Center
|Functioning as an Aging and Disability Resource Center, the Choices In Living Resource Center operates a toll-free helpline, available between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. As well as providing advice on long-term care options and supportive services, trained specialists can assess Medicaid eligibility and help with applications.
Medicare doesn’t pay for non-medical home care, but it can cover the cost of the medical version of home care, called “Home Healthcare” in some situations. In order to be eligible, you need to be homebound and have a referral from your doctor for the specific type of medical care that is needed. There are also other restrictions that apply.
Below is an overview of some of the services typically covered by Medicare for those who are eligible:
As mentioned above, home care is distinctly different from home healthcare, but there is some overlap – so while Medicare doesn’t cover non-medical home care, there are personal care services that may be covered in special circumstances – such as an occupational therapist helping with eating or dressing.
Read our guide to Medicare and Home Care Coverage for more information.
While the above programs can be a great way to make home care affordable for many people, they are not the right solution for everyone. Thankfully, there are other ways to make home care more affordable for you and your family. For more information about your other options, read our section on Other Ways to Pay for this guide.
Remaining at home has many benefits for seniors, such as living in a familiar environment and being close to loved ones, though aging in place can present some challenges. Arkansas has several free and affordable services to help older adults maintain a high quality of life and live independently, safely and comfortably at home.
|Area Agencies on Aging
|Arkansas’s eight Area Agencies on Aging facilitate community initiatives to support seniors and signpost individuals to relevant services. Programs include benefits and Medicare counseling, home care services, pet care, nutrition, transportation, caregiver support groups and care coordination. Agencies also operate a network of senior centers where adults aged 60 and above can socialize and join diverse enrichment, educational and fitness programs. Many centers offer free transportation to and from their locations, as well as free lunches, clothing swaps and routine health checks.
|AARP is a nonprofit membership organization for older adults. The website has comprehensive information on a range of aging-related topics, and the organization hosts diverse online and in-person events, including lectures, workshops and advice sessions, social events, safe driving courses, movie screenings and games. Members also receive discounts on various products and services.
|Arkansas Senior Medicare Patrol
|Contact a trained volunteer at Arkansas Senior Medicare Patrol to learn more about Medicare fraud and abuse and report suspected scams and mistakes. Advisors can help you understand your medical bills and organize your paperwork.
|Weatherization Assistance Program
|Managed by the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, the Weatherization Assistance Program provides resources to make homes more energy-efficient and help people save money on energy bills. Work may include insulation, ventilation and draft prevention. Services are available to low-income Arkansas residents, with priority given to vulnerable individuals.
|Center for Arkansas Legal Services
|44 Counties in North Arkansas
|Headquartered in Little Rock with a further seven offices throughout Northern Arkansas, the nonprofit Center for Arkansas Legal Services provides free civil law advice and advocacy to low-income individuals. Areas of assistance include housing, consumer affairs, debt, wills, powers of attorney, probate, insurance and public benefits. The toll-free helpline is staffed between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Online: Entire State
|Based in Springdale, the Schmieding Center is a nonprofit community center for older adults. The Center offers a range of in-person and online programs designed to fulfill mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual needs. Other services include home caregiver training, education for health care workers, support groups and provision of aging resources and referrals.
Apart from limited exemptions, all home care workers in the United States must be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak. Vaccine mandates apply to both home care aides and home health care professionals. These rules are current as of April 2022 but could change at any time. You can obtain statewide and national updates from your local Area Agency on Aging. Service provider agencies might implement additional requirements beyond essential state measures, such as stricter use of personal protective equipment and more rigid vaccination policies. Contact an agency representative to learn more about their practices and requirements.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?
|Private home care agencies can only provide personal and attendant care services, such as assistance with daily activities, oral hygiene, light domestic chores, laundry and companionship. Agency-employed aides cannot provide clinical services.
|Are Care Plans Required?
|Before providing services, agencies should complete an assessment to determine an individual’s service needs, which services will be provided and which employee will provide them. Following the evaluation, agencies must develop a personalized Aide Service Plan. Clients should be allowed input, and care plans should detail services to be provided, frequency of caregiver visits and frequency and scope of aide supervision requirements.
|Can Home Care Providers Assist With Medication Management?
|Home care aides cannot administer medications. After training, aides may provide basic assistance with medication management, such as reminding clients to take their medications.
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?
|Before beginning employment, prospective home care aides must pass a criminal background check.
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?
|Home care aides must complete at least 40 hours of training before providing services. Training must include certain topics, including health conditions, nutrition, toileting, communication skills, record keeping, personal grooming, transfer techniques, household safety, infection control and meal preparation. Every year, aides must complete an additional 12 hours of job-related in-service training. Some caregivers are exempt from these training requirements, including anyone who has verifiable evidence of having worked for at least a year in an institutional setting, such as a hospital, nursing home or home health agency. Exemptions also apply to registered, certified, licensed or qualified health care professionals or social workers, close family members and volunteers.
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Arkansas?
|The state Medicaid plan, under the Personal Care Program, and the ARChoices in Homecare waiver cover all or partial costs of home care for eligible seniors.
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?
|Actual or suspected abuse, mistreatment or exploitation should be reported to Adult Protective Services at (800) 482-8049. Call 911 if you or a loved one are at immediate risk of harm.
Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one, finding a quality home care provider can be a stressful process. To help you overcome this challenge, we’ve created a helpful checklist below that can help guide you through the process of both determining your needs, and finding a home care agency that will be the best fit for you and your family.