TABLE OF CONTENTS
Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey shows that you can expect to pay about $4,767 per month for home care services in Florida, based on 44 hours of care weekly. This rate covers non-medical in-home care such as assistance with bathing and grooming, light housekeeping, transportation to appointments and companionship. Home health care, which adds some limited medical services like blood pressure monitoring and medication management, also costs an average of $4,767 per month.
Florida’s home care rates are below the national average of $4,957 but higher than the average rate in nearby states. Seniors in Alabama and Mississippi pay about $3,813 per month for home care services. Rates are somewhat higher north of Florida’s border in Georgia ($4,290) and South Carolina ($4,433).
At a statewide average cost of $4,767 per month, seniors in Florida also pay more for home health care than those in neighboring Georgia ($4,385) and Alabama ($3,851). In South Carolina home health care costs about $4,481, while seniors in Mississippi pay just $3,813 per month for the same type of care.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
In Florida, average monthly long-term senior care rates start from $1,517 for adult day care services and go up to $8,654 for a semiprivate room in a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living care costs an average of $4,000 per month, while in-home care and home health care run about $4,767 per month.
Yes, under certain circumstances Florida’s Medicaid program does cover some in-home care services for Medicaid beneficiaries who are at-risk of institutionalization. Medicaid funds several long-term care programs that include home care — the Statewide Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Program (SMMC LTC), the Home Care for the Elderly Waiver, the Community Care for the Elderly Waiver and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
Eligibility for benefits through either the SMMC LTC or PACE are contingent upon a comprehensive needs assessment that includes input from your physician or another licensed medical provider. You’ll also need to show that you can continue to live independently with the services and supports offered through either of these programs.
There are several waivers and other programs in Florida that allow Medicaid beneficiaries to access home care services.
|Waiver||Contact||How it Works|
|Statewide Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Program||Online||Open to Medicaid beneficiaries aged 65 and older, as well as those 18 and older who qualify for blind or disabled Medicaid, Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Program is a nursing home diversion program.
Under the SMMC LTC, eligible seniors receive personalized services and support designed to enable them to live safely in their own homes. These services include adult day care, personal care and in-home nursing support.
|Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)||(800) 963-5337||PACE is another Medicaid-funded nursing home diversion program that includes in-home care services and community-based supports.
PACE participants have access to all of the same services covered under the SMMC LTC along with a range of supports and programs delivered at a PACE adult day care center. With PACE, all Medicaid and Medicare services are combined through a single organization in order to optimize care. To apply for PACE, you need to be at least 55 years old, and be either dual-eligible (Medicaid and Medicare), or be 65 or older with Medicaid coverage.
|Home Care for the Elderly (HCE) Program||(800) 963-5337||HCE provides subsidies of $160 per month to all participants to cover the cost of medical supplies, prescriptions and other vital health care expenses. It’s open to seniors aged 60 and older who are eligible for Medicaid or Social Security Income (SSI). For more information or to apply for this benefit, seniors can contact Florida’s Elder Helpline at the number listed to the left.|
|Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) Program||(800) 963-5337||CCD is designed to help functionally impaired seniors avoid nursing home placement. It provides in-home care services such as home nursing, personal care, home-delivered meals, therapeutic treatments and transportation. To qualify for this program, applicants need to be at least 60 years old and be determined to require the services provided by the program. Applicants can contact the number to the left to inquire.|
To qualify for Medicaid, you need to demonstrate that you have a low income and few countable assets. As of 2022, the annual income limit for individuals applying for Medicaid in Florida is $11,964, while the combined income for couples when both people are applying is $16,116. In terms of countable assets, which includes cash, bonds and all real estate except your own home that’s worth no more than $635,000, the limit for individuals is $5,000, and $6,000 for a couple.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
In addition to complying with Florida’s income and asset limits, Medicaid applicants must also:
To apply for Florida Medicaid, you can create an online account through the Florida Department of Children and Families Automated Community Connections to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) portal. This system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Alternatively, you can schedule an in-person appointment with your local Department of Children and Families Community Partner. Further assistance may be available by calling the state’s Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337.
What Information You Will Need
Because eligibility for Medicaid is based on your finances, citizenship and other factors, you’ll need to have a number of documents ready when you complete your Medicaid application. That includes:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
If you need a hand completing your Medicaid application or you’re concerned that you’re not receiving the services that you should be, help is available.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Hotline||(877) 711-3662||Entire State||If you have questions about Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program, need help choosing the right Medicaid health plan, or want to make changes to your coverage, you can call the SMMC Hotline for assistance.|
|Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE)||(800) 963-5337||Entire State||The Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders program provides Florida seniors with unbiased one-on-one health insurance counseling. SHINE services are free, confidential and available statewide through a network of trained volunteers.|
|Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida – Legal Advice HELPline||(800) 405-1417||Brevard, Citrus, Flager, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminold, Sumter and Volusia County||Staffed by attorneys, the CLSMF HELPline provides low-income seniors with free legal information, guidance and referrals. The HELPline accepts calls from older adults who need help navigating their health care benefits such as Medicaid.|
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.
Seniors in Florida have access to a wide range of free and low-cost services designed to support healthy aging. These services include assistance with transportation, nutritional supports and programs to help older homeowners save money on their energy bills.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Meals on Wheels||Contact local office||Statewide||Meals on Wheels is a nationwide program that provides low-cost, home-delivered meals to homebound seniors through a network of over 5,000 non-profit organizations and service providers. Volunteers who drop off the meals also take a moment to chat with each MOW client in person, and if additional services are needed, the volunteer will alert family members, senior service agencies or emergency services.|
|Florida Department of Veterans Affairs – County Veteran Service Officers||Locate your local county office online||Statewide||Veterans, their dependents and survivors can contact their local county Veterans Service Officers for up-to-date information on VA, state and local veterans’ programs, benefits and services. VSO’s can also help vets with applications to entitlements such as mental health counseling, burial benefits and Florida’s property tax exemption for disabled vets.|
|Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program||(800) 963-5337 (Elder Helpline)||Statewide||Low-income seniors aged 60 and older who struggle to keep up with their home energy bills may be eligible for financial aid through the Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program, or EHEAP. This federally-funded program provides approved seniors with funds to cover delinquent energy payments. These funds may also be used to repair heating and cooling equipment or to purchase portable fans, heaters and air conditioners. Seniors can local their nearest EHEAP provider by calling Florida’s Elder Helpline.|
|Florida Department of Revenue — Property Tax Benefits for Seniors||Contact County Property Appraiser||Statewide||Florida homeowners aged 65 and older may be eligible for a property tax exemption of up to $50,000. Seniors can learn more about this age and income-based property tax relief program by contacting their county property appraiser.|
|Aging and Disability Resource Centers||Locate local ADRC online or Call (800) 963-5337||Statewide||Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs operates 11 Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs). These regional resource centers act as a one-stop source of information for seniors who need long-term care services, information on state and federal benefit programs, and local programming for seniors.|
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services enacted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all home care and home health care workers nationwide who are employed by, or contracted through, any agency that receives Medicare and/or Medicaid funding.
Note that a limited number of caregivers may be unvaccinated despite the federal mandate, as some exemptions do apply. Home care and home health care workers who experienced a severe, adverse reaction to their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as those with specific health conditions, may not be fully vaccinated. Also exempt are caregivers employed by private agencies.
In Florida, the Agency for Health Care Administration oversees all licensed home health agencies in the state, most of which also offer home care services. ACHA inspectors ensure that licensees comply with the rules outlined in Florida’s Chapter 591-8, the state’s Minimum Standards for Home Health Agencies.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Unlicensed home care workers can provide a range of non-medical services. The types of care include assistance with activities of daily living, companionship, respite for family caregivers and escorting the client to medical appointments, on shopping trips and social engagements.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||While care plans are not mandated under Florida home health regulations, they are required when the home care services are funded through federal benefits.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||Unlicensed home care providers can help clients by reading prescription labels and opening medication bottles, applying topical medications, and placing a single dose of an oral medication into the client’s hand for self-administration. Assistance with self-medication by an unlicensed caregiver is only permitted with the written, informed consent of the client or their legal representative.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||Yes. By law, all home care agencies must complete level 2 background screening on all contractors and employees, including companions and homemakers.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||Home care aides employed by agencies that receive funding through federal programs must complete at least 16 hours of classroom training, 16 hours of supervised hands-on training. They need to complete a combined total of at least 75 hours of training that covers communication skills, emergency management, personal care and infection control.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Florida?||In Florida, Medicaid beneficiaries who need home care services may be eligible for in-home support through the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program (SMMC LTC).|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||If you’re a senior who’s being neglected, abused or mistreated, you can call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873. If you’re in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. The same reporting number is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take calls from family members, caregivers and concerned citizens.|
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.