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The cost of in-home care and home health care is $6,387 per month, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. While in-home care helps seniors with daily tasks, housekeeping and companionship, home health care providers offer advanced care for those who require medical aid, including rehabilitative therapies, post-operative assistance or chronic health condition management.
Colorado’s in-home care and home health care costs are above the national average. These costs are also higher than those in surrounding states. While home care ranges from $5,148 to $5,625 in Wyoming, Utah and Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico are far less expensive for both services, with costs that sit just above $4,500.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
At $6,387 per month, Colorado’s home care is more expensive than assisted living, which costs an average of $4,750 per month. Nursing home care is Colorado’s costliest senior care option at $8,567 monthly. It’s also important for seniors to consider that home care’s cost is in addition to their typical housing expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities and food, whereas assisted living and nursing home care’s costs include these items. Seniors seeking a more affordable option but don’t need 24-hour professional care can consider adult day care, which costs an average of $1,950 throughout the state.
Colorado’s Regular Medicaid, also known as Health First Colorado, doesn’t cover home care costs. However, the state does provide two programs that work with Medicaid to provide the funding seniors need to access in-home care and home health care services.
Elderly Blind and Disabled Waiver
The Elderly, Blind and Disabled waiver is available to seniors aged 65 and older who are blind or functionally impaired. It also provides some funding for adults aged 18 to 64 who are physically disabled or living with HIV or AIDS. This program is only open to those requiring long-term care to live within their communities safely.
It covers a variety of services, including:
To qualify for this waiver, seniors must meet the age and health care requirements mentioned above and have an income that’s less than three times the current Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limit.
To apply, seniors enrolled in Health First Colorado can contact their local Single Entry Point. Those who aren’t enrolled should start by applying for Health First Colorado online.
Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
Operated in part by the state and monitored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), PACE helps seniors aged 55 and above access managed care services. It provides free or low-cost care based on a sliding scale, with services that include:
To qualify for PACE, seniors must be at least 55 years old, live within a PACE service area and require a nursing care level but be able to live in a community setting if provided personal care or health care services at home.
To qualify for Colorado’s Medicaid program, seniors must meet its income and asset limits. Seniors living alone can’t exceed $18,705 per year in income and must retain a maximum of $2,000 in countable assets. For two-person households, their income limit is $24,353 per year and their asset limit is $3,000.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
Further to the income requirements above, seniors must be:
You can apply for Health First Colorado online. If you prefer to apply over the phone, you can call (800) 221-3943.
What Information You Will Need
Before applying, you should prepare by gathering the following information and documents:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
There are several resources in Colorado available to help you navigate the sometimes complicated process of understanding and applying for Medicaid.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Health First Colorado Member Contact Center||(800) 221-3943||Entire State||The Member Contact Center helps seniors and other Medicaid applicants by providing clarification about eligibility requirements, as well as help throughout the application process.|
|Colorado PEAK||Contact your local office||Entire State||Colorado PEAK helps seniors and other Colorado residents apply for a variety of government benefits, including Medicaid. This one-stop-shop provides access to online applications, application guides and hands-on help from representatives of the state’s Department of Human Services.|
|Colorado SHIP and SMP||(888) 696-7213||Entire State||The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program work with Medicare beneficiaries to help them better understand their benefits. They can provide detailed information about dual eligibility for those who also qualify for Medicaid, as well as help with the application process.|
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.
While living at home, Colorado seniors can access a variety of programs and benefits designed to make life more affordable and enriching while aging in place.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Weatherization Assistance Program||(303) 866-2100 or Contact your local office||Entire State||The Weatherization Assistance Program helps qualified homeowners fix their homes to improve energy efficiency. That may include air infiltration sealing, insulation, furnace repair, adding LED light bulbs or purchasing new high-efficiency appliances.|
|Colorado Housing Connects||(844) 926-6632||Entire State||Colorado Housing Connects is an online resource that helps seniors and low-income residents throughout the state find programs that offer home repairs and home modifications to those who need them at no cost.|
|Colorado Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)||(866) 432-8435||Entire State||LEAP provides funds for low-income Coloradans to pay heating and energy costs. To qualify, you must have an income that equals 60% of the state’s median or less.|
|Emergency Rental Assistance Program||Online||Entire State||The Emergency Rental Assistance Program helps seniors and other Colorado residents access emergency cash to cover their rent or mortgage payments. This program requires its beneficiaries to provide proof of their inability to pay and only covers rent for a period dating back up to one year.|
|Adult Protective Services||Contact your local county office||Entire State||Adult Protective Services ensures that the state’s seniors have protections against neglect, exploitation and abuse. It accepts and investigates complaints about issues seniors face in health care facilities, long-term care facilities and at home.|
The CMS required that all Colorado in-home care and home health care workers receive their full COVID-19 vaccination no later than February 28, 2022. This law applies to the first and second doses of the vaccine and recommends that health care workers remain up to date with all boosters as per recommendations provided by the CMS.
As of April 2022, these guidelines are current, but it’s important to note that they’re subject to frequent change. For the most up-to-date information, seniors and their family members should check with local governments. Furthermore, individual home care agencies may offer additional guidance and regulations beyond state or federal law, which you can obtain from the agencies directly.
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment regulates its home care agencies.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Home care agencies may provide home health services or personal care services that assist with daily living activities in a client’s home. An agency may only offer health and medical services only if it is licensed as a Class A agency and employs certified health care practitioners.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||Home care agencies must provide a care plan that details a client’s needs. In a home health care setting, a nurse practitioner or physician assistant may establish care plans. In all cases, a medical professional must review and update this plan any time a client’s needs change.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||Home care providers may offer assistance with medication management. Medications may only be administered by a caregiver if done so under the order of a physician and by a caregiver operating as part of a Class A (medical) home care agency.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||Home care aides must undergo a criminal background check.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||All Colorado home care agency employees must receive training on patient care, neglect and agency policies. There is no licensing or education requirement for those working in a non-medical capacity. Home health care aides in Colorado must undergo at least 75 hours of training and 16 hours of clinical work under the supervision of a registered nurse.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Colorado?||The Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver and the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly provide coverage for home care in Colorado.|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||You should report abuse or neglect to the office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman by contacting the Area Agency on Aging for your county.|
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.