TABLE OF CONTENTS
Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey shows that you can expect to pay about $4,433 per month for home care services in South Carolina. This rate is based on 44 hours of non-medical care weekly that may include assistance with personal care and grooming, light housekeeping, meal preparation and companionship. Home health care costs slightly more at $4,481 per month, as this type of care also involves some limited in-home medical services delivered by a licensed and regulated health care provider.
Home care rates in South Carolina are slightly higher than the average rates in neighboring Georgia ($4290) and North Carolina ($4,385). Just to the east of South Carolina in Tennessee, seniors pay about $4,576 per month for home care services. The same type of care is more expensive in Florida, where the average monthly home care rate is $4,767.
Home health care rates in South Carolina also run just above rates in North Carolina ($4,385) and Georgia ($4,385), although at $4,481 per month, South Carolina’s rates are well under the nationwide average of $5,148. In Tennessee, home health care costs about $4,576, and in Florida, it’s $4,767.
|Home Health Care
In South Carolina you’ll find a wide variety of long-term care services geared towards seniors. Prices for these services start at $1,408 per month for adult day care and go up to $7,285 per month for a semiprivate room in a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living care, which includes room and board, runs about $3,612 per month, while in-home care is $4,433 and home health care is $4,481.
In South Carolina, the Medicaid program, also known as Healthy Connections, covers the cost of some in-home care services for beneficiaries who are at risk of nursing home placement. These services are only available to those who can be safely supported in their own home, and who don’t require around-the-clock care or extensive medical support.
Seniors who have Medicaid may be eligible for enrollment in the Community Choices Medicaid Waiver, also known as the Elderly and Disabled Waiver.
This home and community-based services waiver is open to Medicaid beneficiaries who’ve been assessed as being eligible for the level of care provided in a skilled nursing facility.
The services delivered through the Community Choices waiver vary depending on your needs, but their total cost can’t exceed what the same type of care would cost in an institutional setting. In some cases, adult children may be able to be compensated with waiver funds for the care they give to an aging parent.
To be eligible for the Community Choices Medicaid Waiver, you need to:
If approved for participation in the waiver, you may be provided with services such as:
To apply for this Waiver, contact your local Department of Health and Human Services Office.
Eligibility for Medicaid is largely based on your financial situation. In South Carolina, the annual income limit for regular Medicaid/Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid is $13,596 if you’re a single applicant and $18,312 in combined income for a couple. The individual asset limit is $8,400, while a couple can own up to $12,600 in combined, countable assets.
In addition to the income and asset limits, you must also meet these additional requirements:
You can apply for Medicaid in South Carolina online, in person or over the phone.
To apply online, you’ll need to set up a user account on the Citizen Portal, operated by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Alternatively, you can call Healthy Connection at (888) 549-0820 to complete a phone application, or to locate the nearest county office where you can apply in person.
What Information You Will Need
When you apply for Medicaid, you’ll be asked to verify your eligibility. This means submitting copies of your:
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
Applying for, and using, Medicaid can be complicated. To help make the process easier, there are a number of organizations and services that assist seniors with Medicaid applications and appeals.
|Healthy Connections Member Contact Center
|The Healthy Connections Member Contact Center is a statewide call center staffed by Medicaid specialists. Beneficiaries and Medicaid applicants can call Healthy Connections Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for application assistance, information on coverage and to file appeals.
|South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS)
|SCLS is a non-profit legal services organization that helps low-income individuals with civil (non-criminal) matters. Staff at SCLS can help seniors who have legal issues related to Medicaid coverage and services.
|State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
|South Carolina’s SHIP can help you navigate your health insurance options. Trained volunteers are available for one-on-one meetings with you and your family members to review your needs and give you free, unbiased recommendations.
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.
Getting older comes with a number of challenges, but with assistance from community-based programs and services, many seniors are able to spend their retirement years in the comfort of their own homes. Below you’ll find links to a number of free and low-cost senior services in South Carolina that you can use to stay safe and healthy.
|South Carolina Area Agencies on Aging
|South Carolina seniors are served by 10 regional Area Agencies on Aging. These federally-mandated, state-designated organizations are responsible for addressing the needs of older adults through state and local programming.
|South Carolina Department of Revenue – Homestead Exemption
|Online/Local County Auditor
|If you’re a homeowner aged 65 or older, or you’re legally blind or permanently disabled, you can apply for the South Carolina Homestead Exemption through your County Auditor’s Office. This benefit exempts you from all taxes on the first $50,000 in market value of your home. For example, if your home is valued at $150,000, with the Exemption, the tax assessment on your home would be reduced to $100,000.
|Senior Nutrition Programs
|South Carolina’s Department on Aging (SCDOA) oversees a variety of nutrition programs for seniors statewide, including meal sites at senior centers and home meal delivery (Meals on Wheels) for housebound seniors. You can find your local senior’s nutrition provider by calling the SCDOA’s toll-free number.
|South Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program
|If you’re struggling to keep up with your home heating and cooling costs, you may qualify for free energy-efficiency upgrades through the South Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Benefits of this federally-funded program include home energy audits, installation of weatherstripping, HVAC system repairs and upgrades, and free fridge replacement.
|Healthy Connections Prime Advocate
|The Healthy Connections Prime Advocate Program is a free service for seniors aged 65 and older who are Healthy Connections Prime members. Staff with the Advocate Program can help members understand their benefits, and resolve problems with managed care providers.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has made vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for those who work directly with vulnerable populations such as seniors. In accordance with a mandate issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, all home health care workers who provide direct care services through a Medicaid and/or Medicare-funded agency or organization must comply with the vaccination mandate. While this information is current as of April 2022, regulations surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations are ever-changing. For up-to-date information, check with your local public health agency.
Home care agencies may also have additional rules in place about vaccines, sanitization and personal protective equipment. These rules can be obtained by contacting agencies directly.
In South Carolina licensed home care providers are required to comply with Regulation 61-122, Standards for Licensing In-Home Care Providers. These regulations are enforced by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?
|In South Carolina, in-home care can include a range of non-medical services such as assistance with activities of daily living, transportation to non-urgent medical appointments, companionship and light meal preparation.
|Are Care Plans Required?
|Home care services that are funded through Medicaid must include care plans. These plans need to outline what services will be provided, the service frequency and goals.
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?
|Yes. Home care providers can help clients self-administer medications by reading prescription labels, opening pill containers and providing medication reminders.
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?
|Yes. All home care aides must successfully pass a state-approved criminal record check and drug test. In-home caregivers must also submit to random drug testing that checks for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine and amphetamines.
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?
|Home care aides must hold basic first aid certification, a valid driver’s license (if transporting clients) and be at least 18 years old. They must also complete in-service training consisting of courses on dealing with special populations; client confidentiality and client rights; abuse prevention; record keeping; infection control and medication management.
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in South Carolina?
|Yes. Medicaid-funded home care services are included under the Community Choices Medicaid Waiver.
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?
|If you or your loved one is being mistreated by a caregiver, family member or someone in the community, call the South Carolina Department of Social Services at (888) 227-3487. If there’s an immediate threat, call 9-1-1.
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.