TABLE OF CONTENTS
In Louisiana, the average monthly costs of in-home care and home health care are $3,623 and $3,718, respectively. In-home care commonly assists with daily living activities, housekeeping and meal preparation, while home health care expands the service to include various medical treatments such as skilled nursing and physical, speech or occupational therapies. Compared to what seniors pay around the country, older adults in Louisiana save more than $1,000 a month on either type of senior care.
Out of itself and the three states bordering it, Louisiana’s home care costs are the most affordable. Though Mississippi’s median cost of home care is also less than the national average, its seniors are still paying about $190 more per month on home care than Louisiana’s older adults and $95 more on home health care.
With its median cost of home care $953 above Louisiana’s average, Texas is the costliest of the neighboring states, followed by Arkansas, where home care costs an average of $562 more per month than Louisiana. For home health care, Arkansas seniors spend about $477 a month more, on average, while Mississippi seniors pay slightly more than in Louisiana.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
Home care is the second most affordable type of senior care in Louisiana, followed by home health care. For assisted living, you can expect to spend about $125 more per month than you would with home care, and in a nursing home with a semiprivate room, you’ll pay around $2,136 more each month for your care. Coming in at $1,835 a month less than home care, adult day care is Louisiana’s least expensive type of senior care.
Louisiana’s Medicaid program doesn’t pay for home care directly; however, through several waiver programs, many of the state’s older residents can afford the care and support to continue living at home.
The Program for All-Inclusive Care can help seniors requiring a nursing home level of care avoid placement, allowing them to receive skilled nursing, therapy and other services from local health care providers. The Community Choices Waiver offers numerous benefits, including assistance with daily living activities and monitored in-home care. Seniors who participate in the Long-Term Personal Care Services program can get help with their personal hygiene, grocery shopping and other household chores.
The programs below could help Louisiana’s seniors maintain their independence throughout retirement by receiving the care they need at home instead of in an institutional environment.
|Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)||(504) 945-1531||Instead of living at a nursing home, you could join PACE and receive the care you need from local health care providers. To participate in the program, you’ll have to be at least 55 years of age and live near one of the three PACE provider areas located in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans.|
|Community Choices Waiver||(877) 456-1146||The Community Choices Waiver can help you continue living at home by assisting with daily living activities, running errands and completing housework. It also provides nursing services, home-delivered meals and home accessibility modifications, such as handrails and bathroom grab bars. To qualify for the Community Choices Waiver, seniors must be at least 55 years of age and require a nursing home level of care.|
|Long-Term Personal Care Services Program (LTPCS)||(877) 456-1146||In addition to requiring assistance with at least one activity of daily living, you need to be at least 65 years of age to enroll in LTPCS. The program’s services include assistance with personal hygiene, grocery shopping, meal preparation and accompaniment to medical appointments.|
To qualify for Medicaid, seniors must meet the program’s income and asset requirements. A single older adult’s yearly income cannot exceed $10,092 with total assets below $2,000. For an older couple to be eligible, their annual income and total assets have to stay below $15,132 and $3,000, respectively.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
In addition to financial requirements, qualifying for Medicaid requires proof of legal residency and documentation demonstrating a medical need for any additional programs. Seniors who fall into either of the following categories automatically qualify for Medicaid:
There are several ways you can apply for Medicaid in Louisiana. You can apply online directly or download the application from the Medicaid site and mail or fax it in. You could also visit a nearby Medicaid office.
What Information You Will Need
When applying for Medicaid or one of its waiver programs, seniors must provide various documentation. Some of the most important are:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
Louisiana’s seniors can reach out to the organizations mentioned below and get answers to their questions about Medicaid and its coverage, how it compares with Medicare and the quickest way to apply.
|Contact||Area Served||Service Provided|
|Louisiana Department of Health Medicaid Customer Service||(888) 342-6207||Entire State||You can call the Louisiana Department of Health Medicaid Customer Service line to get answers to your questions about Medicaid benefits and eligibility, report abuse and learn about local Medicaid services providers.|
|Louisiana Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP)||(225) 342-5301||Entire State||Seniors with questions about eligibility and benefits of Medicaid and Medicare can get free, one-on-one insurance assistance through the state’s SHIP. The program’s volunteers are knowledgeable about Medicare Parts A and B as well as long-term care insurance, and if Medicaid denies your claim, a SHIP worker can assist with filing an appeal.|
|Louisiana Answers Aging and Disability Information Station||(225) 342-7100||Entire State||The Louisiana Answers Aging and Disability Information Station is an informational hub for the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connections (ADRC) and its services, including respite care and in-home services. Experienced insurance counselors at the agency can also answer seniors’ questions about Medicaid, its home care coverage and how to apply.|
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.
The following resources can help seniors continue to live safely at home with services that increase home safety, lower expenses and increase access to essential goods.
|Single-Family Housing Repair Grant||(337) 262-6601||With the Single-Family Housing Repair Grant, some of Louisiana’s older residents can receive no-obligation financial assistance to make health and safety repairs to their homes. The maximum grant amount is $10,000. To qualify, seniors must be at least 62 years of age, unable to obtain credit elsewhere for making repairs, and currently live in and own the home they’re applying for.|
|Louisiana Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||(225) 763-8700||The Louisiana LIHEAP helps low-income residents catch up on their critical utility bills to stay safe and comfortable during Louisiana’s least comfortable periods of summer and winter. To participate, seniors must provide documents showing their income, past utility bills and any received disconnection notices.|
|Louisiana Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)||(225) 763-8700||The WAP helps Louisiana’s low-income seniors reduce their heating and cooling bills by improving their homes’ energy efficiency. Weatherstripping addition, window and door repairs and insulation installation are just a few of the free home improvements the program provides Louisiana’s low-income seniors to help them save money.|
|Senior Citizens Special Tax Assessment||(225) 219-0339||The Senior Citizens Special Tax Assessment freezes the assessed value of your home. Once frozen, your property taxes won’t go up because your home is more valuable, but they may still increase after a rate change.|
|Meals on Wheels||(888) 998-6325||Older Louisianans who cannot cook for themselves and don’t have anyone to go grocery shopping or prepare meals for them can reach out to their local Meals on Wheels program to have hot, nutritious food delivered to their doorstep. Call the national Meals on Wheels hotline or your local Aging and Disability Resource Center to learn more about your local program’s eligibility requirements.|
|Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)||(225) 342-7100||From insurance counseling and advocacy to caregiver support and home care services, AAAs manage a variety of programs designed to help you continue living safely at home. AAAs manage services, such as low-cost transportation, free legal assistance, in-home respite care and personal care.|
With the exception of fully remote employees, Louisiana requires all in-home care and home health care workers to have the COVID-19 vaccine. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) mandates this rule, and the last enforcement date for this mandate in Louisiana was April 14, 2022. New employees must be fully vaccinated before completing any tasks or services for their agency.
These rules are current as of April 2022, but seniors should reach out to local agencies for the latest information because it changes often. Some home care agencies may have vaccine requirements that are more stringent than the state’s mandate, so it’s worth it for seniors to check with each home care agency they’re considering.
The Health Standards Section of the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals regulates home care in Louisiana.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Medicaid-approved home health agencies in Louisiana are required to offer skilled nursing as well as at least one of the following: home health aide services, medical social services or a rehabilitative service, such as physical, speech or occupational therapy.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||Louisiana’s administrative code requires that within a patient’s first seven days of care, a registered nurse or similar medical professional must complete the initial Plan of Care (PoC). New home care patients’ physicians must approve the initial PoC within 30 days and update it at least every two months or sooner if warranted by the individual’s medical needs.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||LPNs are responsible for assisting in medication administration in Louisiana’s home care agencies. Home health aides cannot manage patients’ prescriptions.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||Louisiana requires all home care agency employees, including aides, to pass a criminal background check and an annual health screening.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||In addition to demonstrating a general desire to help many communities’ most vulnerable residents, new home health aides must pass the nursing assistant exam as well as complete a basic competency evaluation. Annually, all aides must complete continuing education coursework to remain licensed.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Louisiana?||In Louisiana, Medicaid pays for home care through waiver programs such as PACE, Long-Term Care Personal Services and the Community Choices Waiver.|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||Call the Adult (Elderly) Protective Services hotline at (800) 898-4910. Alternatively, you can report abuse by calling the Long-Term Care Ombudsman at (225) 342-9723 or emailing them at [email protected]|
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.