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According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, you can expect to pay an average of $4,385 a month for home health care in Georgia. This service usually includes medical or rehab services performed in your home by a medical professional, and it is not to be confused with in-home care. In-home care leans more toward personal care and non-medical support services by a visiting caregiver. In-home care in Georgia costs an average of $4,290 a month.
The cost for home care in Georgia is a few hundred dollars a month lower than the national average of $4,957 a month, and it’s well below the national rate of $5,148 for home health care. The state’s average costs are close to the low end compared with other nearby states. Georgia’s costs are lower than Florida ($4,767), Tennessee ($4,576) and South Carolina ($4,433 and $4,481). Alabama does have lower costs for both types of care, at $3,813 a month for in-home care and $3,851 for home health care, a few hundred dollars less than Georgia’s averages.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
Home health care and in-home care are not the only options you have for senior living arrangements. In some cases, other solutions are more appropriate or comfortable for seniors, though these often carry a higher price. While in-home care in Georgia costs $4,290 and home health care costs $4,385, nursing home care in Georgia averages $7,011 a month for a semiprivate room. Assisted living, an intermediate level of senior care, averages $3,535 a month in Georgia. One exception to this higher-price rule is adult day care, which costs only $1,300 a month.
Medicaid has a program to help you pay for home care, but it can be tricky to get the benefits you need. Georgia’s Medicaid SOURCE waiver covers the health-related services you need at home, but you may have a shortfall in some of your non-medical needs. The SOURCE waiver aims to help low-income seniors in Georgia remain safely at home rather than enter a nursing home or assisted living facility.
To sign up for a SOURCE waiver in Georgia, you must receive Medicaid and be eligible for placement in a residential setting, such as a nursing home. You will also need a medical evaluation to ensure you can live safely at home.
Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment Waiver
The SOURCE waiver is a case management program directed toward seniors and disabled adults. When you sign up for waiver services, your case manager will work with your doctor and other relevant participants to craft an in-home care program for your unique needs.
SOURCE benefits cover many services, including caregiver support and medically necessary durable equipment. Georgia Medicaid must cover equipment and services, and your doctor must authorize it. To qualify, you must be eligible for or currently enrolled in Medicaid and have a qualifying medical condition.
To qualify for Georgia Medicaid, you must meet certain income and asset limits. For regular Medicaid, a single applicant’s income limit is $10,092 a year, and their asset limit is $2,000. Married couples can earn up to $15,132 a year and cannot have more than $3,000 in assets.
Medicaid does not consider your house, burial trusts, a single vehicle, furniture and personal items as countable assets.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
In addition to financial criteria, Georgia’s Medicaid program also requires you to:
You can apply for Georgia Medicaid online on the state’s dedicated Medicaid application page or from the Georgia Gateway Benefits Portal. To apply by phone, call (877) 423-4746 during regular state office hours. The state’s Medicaid application also offers downloadable paper applications in English and Spanish. However, as of 2015, Georgia Medicaid has stopped accepting paper applications via mail, though you can still submit applications and supporting paperwork through your local benefits office.
What Information You Will Need
Medicaid verifies all the information you submit as part of your application, including:
Medicaid may look back over the five years prior to your application date to establish financial eligibility. If you have transferred any large assets, bought or sold a house or conducted any other major transactions during that period, you may have to provide documentation for your intake worker to assess.
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
The application process for Georgia Medicaid can be daunting. Fortunately, Georgia seniors have several resources to help with the application process.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Georgia Legal Aid||(800) 498-9469||Entire State||Georgia Legal Aid offers information and advice for people applying for Medicaid. Its website provides downloadable forms to help you get started with an application and tips from experts to assist you with streamlining the process. Georgia Legal Aid maintains local offices around the state where you can reach out for local help.|
|Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)||(770) 936-0969||Entire State||CPACS offers consultation and assistance for Georgians who need help applying for health insurance. It includes Medicare, Medicaid and waiver application services. Its certified application counselors provide professional, unbiased advice about health insurance options and help you meet the eligibility criteria before you apply.|
|Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)||(888) 669-7195||Entire State||Georgia seniors can get help applying for a SOURCE waiver through their local Area Agencies on Aging. Staff at local nonprofits in the AAA network can offer advice and guidance through the program’s application forms and document requirements. AAAs can also refer seniors to other local resources.|
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.
Georgia seniors can stay independent and remain safely in their homes with enough support. These organizations offer free and low-cost resources for aging in place.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ARDC)||(404) 657-5258||Entire State||The ADRC is a “no wrong door” resource that provides a variety of services to Georgia’s seniors. ADRC workers can help you get respite care and find referrals for other home care and caregiver resources to help with your care needs.|
|GeorgiaLegalAid.org||(888) 257-9519||Entire State||GeorgiaLegalAid.org is a joint project of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Georgia Legal Services Program, which work together to help seniors and low-income Georgians manage their difficult legal issues. The group helps participants with matters of senior law, caregiver affairs and long-term care disputes. Group members can also give free, confidential expert advice on estate and inheritance planning, benefits appeals and disability cases.|
|Georgia Comptroller General||(404) 417-2100||Entire State||The office of the Georgia Comptroller General manages issues relating to property and taxes in the state. Seniors can reach out to the Department of Revenue for help with claiming state tax exemptions and refunds and information pertaining to insurance fraud cases the department tracks.|
|Meals on Wheels||(706) 549-4850||Entire State||United in Georgia is the umbrella nonprofit that brings together most of Georgia’s Meals on Wheels programs for one easy application and referral service. Seniors who need the nutritional support these programs offer can share congregate meals at senior centers around the state, or they can receive home-delivered meals five times a week.|
|Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)||Online||Entire State||Georgia’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps you remain in your home with adequate heating and cooling, without the undue expense of wasted energy, by helping to upgrade and weatherize your house. WAP programs include home energy audits and inspections for HVAC systems, insulation upgrades and other energy-saving measures.|
On January 14, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated that all home health care workers employed by agencies that participate in Medicaid and/or Medicare must receive their full COVID-19 vaccination by March 15, 2022. Some home care agencies may require workers to take additional mitigation steps, including wearing face masks and personal protection equipment (PPE) to protect their clients further.
This information is current as of April 2022. However, rules relating to COVID-19 precautions change frequently, so it’s always a good idea to check with your local Area Agency on Aging if you’re concerned about having a home care provider enter your home.
Georgia’s Department of Community Health is responsible for regulating the state’s home care providers. It records its regulations with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, issues facility licenses and monitors compliance with applicable state rules and regulations.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Home care in Georgia broadly covers personal care, household chores assistance and companionship. Caregiver duties typically include assistance with daily living activities and some transportation. Caregivers cannot provide services that require a licensed medical professional.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||Georgia requires licensed home care providers to develop a care plan for their clients. This requirement does not extend to family members providing care in a private home.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||Home care providers are allowed to help clients with self-administered medications.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||Georgia requires home care providers to pass a background check and provide proof of vaccination (or a valid religious exemption) before their first contact with patients. It also requires background checks for administrators and staff members with managerial responsibilities.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||Any agency that participates in Medicare must employ home health care workers who have completed minimum training requirements. They must complete a minimum of 75 hours of formal training, including at least 16 hours of classroom training and 16 hours of supervised practical training. During this training, workers must have training on communication skills, how to record vital signs for medical professionals, some infection prevention procedures and other relevant topics.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Texas?||Medicaid doesn’t cover home care directly, but the SOURCES waiver covers personal care and other supports designed to help seniors age in place.|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||Call (866) 552-4464 or file a report online with the DHS Division of Aging Services to report abuse.|
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.