TABLE OF CONTENTS
In Rhode Island, seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,720 per month for in-home care and $5,958 per month for home health care, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In-home care refers to non-medical services, such as grocery shopping, meal preparation and personal care, while home health care refers to medically necessary services provided by a licensed professional. Examples of home health services include speech therapy, wound care and nutrition therapy.
Although Rhode Island has home care costs that are much higher than the national average, it’s more affordable than two of three nearby states. New Hampshire has the highest prices, averaging $6,006 per month for in-home care and $6,197 per month for home health care. Massachusetts also has higher costs than Rhode Island, with both care types costing an average of $5,911 per month. Only Connecticut has lower fees than Rhode Island, with average monthly costs of $5,243 for in-home care and $5,339 for home health care.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
Home care is one of the most affordable care options for Rhode Island seniors. Nursing home care costs an average of $9,429 per month, while assisted living costs an average of $6,826 per month. The other nonresidential option is adult day care, which has an average cost of $1,798 per month.
Rhode Island Medicaid covers home care as part of its Long-Term Services and Supports program, which pays for services to help enrollees stay in their homes or other community settings. Depending on the enrollee’s needs, Medicaid may pay for self-directed home care, adult day care and other supports. Rhode Island also has two waiver programs, giving eligible enrollees access to additional services.
Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver
Rhode Island merged its previous Medicaid waivers into one program called the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver, which covers home care services, home modifications, home-delivered meals, personal care, skilled nursing and other services to help seniors avoid moving to long-term care settings.
The Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver is available to Rhode Island residents who are at least 65 years old and require a nursing home care level. Some younger adults may qualify if they have certain physical disabilities. Each participant must also undergo an assessment to determine their function level and need for home- and community-based services. This assessment helps determine which services the waiver will cover.
Rhode Island has higher income limits for the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver than it does for traditional Medicaid, making home care more accessible to seniors. As of 2022, individual applicants may earn no more than $30,276 per year. The income limit increases to $60,552 per year for married couples ($30,276 per spouse). Single applicants are allowed to have up to $4,000 worth of countable resources. For a married couple, the resource limit is $8,000 to $4,000 per spouse — if both spouses need Medicaid coverage. If only one spouse is applying for coverage, the limit is $4,000 for the applicant and $137,400 for the non-applicant spouse.
To request an assessment, call (401) 462-3000 to speak with a representative from the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs.
RIte @ Home
RIte @ Home is for Rhode Island residents unable to live alone without assistance. It matches eligible participants with community caregivers, such as friends and neighbors, who are willing to receive the training necessary to assist with daily living activities. Caregivers are responsible for personal care, meals, chore services, transportation and on-call support for RIte @ Home participants.
A senior may qualify for RIte @ Home if all of the following apply:
For more information about RIte @ Home, contact the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services at (855) 697-4347.
Medicaid bases eligibility on financial need, so applicants must have limited income and assets. The income limit for 2022 is $13,596 per year for a one-person household and $18,312 for a two-person household. Rhode Island has slightly higher asset limits than many other states — $4,000 for individuals and $6,000 for married couples.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
Rhode Island also requires applicants to meet the following criteria to qualify for Medicaid coverage:
To apply online, visit HealthSource RI to create an account and submit the required forms. You can also download the Application for Assistance and return it to the Department of Human Services (DHS). Consult the DHS website for a list of local offices.
What Information You Will Need
Before you work on your application, gather the following information:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
It’s important to provide a correct, complete application to prevent frustrating process delays. If you need help answering the questions or determining if you meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to one of these resources.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|HealthSource RI||(855) 840-4774||Entire State||HealthSource RI operates a telephone helpline and live chat service, giving Rhode Island seniors access to trained employees who can answer questions about Medicaid. It also offers virtual enrollment information sessions to help residents make sense of their options for health coverage.|
|Executive Office of Health and Human Services||(401) 462-5274||Entire State||The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) oversees several initiatives to increase health care access for Rhode Island residents of all ages. For seniors, EOHHS staff can answer questions about the Global Consumer Compact Waiver and other Medicaid aspects.|
|Rhode Island Legal Services||(401) 274-2652||Entire State||Rhode Island Legal Services helps eligible consumers resolve legal problems, including issues related to Medicaid eligibility and other public programs.|
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.
Aging in place allows seniors to maintain their independence and stay connected to their communities, but it can be difficult to do without a little support. The resources below can help.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||Contact a local Community Action Agency||Entire State||Rhode Island LIHEAP offers grants to help eligible residents pay their home heating bills. It typically pays funds directly to utility providers. LIHEAP also provides crisis assistance, which recipients can use to help restore service after a shutoff, replace a broken heating system or buy fuel.|
|Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island||(401) 351-6700||Entire State||Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island serves hot meals to seniors throughout the state, increasing access to nutritious foods. In addition to delivering meals, volunteers check on the well-being of each participant, reducing social isolation risk. It delivers meals on weekdays.|
|RI Livable Home Modification Grant Program||(401) 462-0100||Entire State||The RI Livable Home Modification Grant Program provides grant funds to help eligible homeowners make their homes safer or more accessible. Recipients can use grants of up to $4,000 to reimburse 50% of qualifying home modification costs.|
|Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services||(855) 330-9131||Entire State||Medical Transportation Management (MTM) is the designated vendor for Rhode Island Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services, which uses public funds to provide transportation to non-emergency medical appointments and other limited services. MTM services are available to adults who are 60 years of age and older. Participants typically need to give 48 hours’ notice, but same-day service may be available for seniors who need urgent care for an acute health condition.|
|Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)||Contact a local Community Action Agency||Entire State||Rhode Island’s Weatherization Assistance Program aims to help eligible consumers reduce their heating costs by paying for home repairs and modifications designed to limit energy usage. WAP funds are available to consumers who also qualify for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.|
With limited exceptions, all home health care providers must receive full vaccination against the virus that causes COVID-19. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlines this requirement in its final vaccination rule issued on January 28, 2022. It does not bind in-home care providers to this rule.
These guidelines are accurate as of April 2022, but they may change at any time. Public health officials are monitoring the situation closely, so contact your local Area Agency on Aging if you have any concerns about the vaccination requirements for home health workers. Even if they’re not required to follow the CMS rule, Rhode Island home care agencies are allowed to implement vaccine requirements for their employees. They may also mandate workers to wear masks, face shields or other personal protection. To find out more, contact your home care provider.
The Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for licensing and regulating the state’s home health agencies.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Home care aides are permitted to provide non-medical care to their clients. This care may include meal preparation, chore services, light housekeeping, grocery shopping or assistance with grooming, bathing, toileting and other daily living activities.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||Home care agencies must provide written verification of the services they will provide, the cost of each service, any fees associated with each service and a list of personnel who will be providing the services. Agencies must also inform clients of their rights.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||Home care professionals may help clients with self-administered medications. They may not administer any prescription or over-the-counter drugs.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||Home care agencies must conduct background checks for staff members who will have direct contact with clients.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||Rhode Island doesn’t have any specific training requirements for home care aids; however, agencies must provide continuing education to help employees develop appropriate knowledge and skills. If an agency employs licensed health professionals, then the agency is responsible for verifying that each employee’s license is active and in good standing.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Rhode Island?||Traditional Medicaid covers several long-term care services for eligible seniors. Rhode Island also has the Global Consumer Compact Waiver and RIte @ Home, both of which cover the cost of home care for seniors who need support to remain independent.|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||You can report abuse to Elder Protective Services at the Rhode Island Office of Health Aging. It accepts complaints 24 hours per day at (401) 462-0555.|
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.