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According to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, Tennessee’s in-home and home health care both have a median cost of $4,576 per month. Prices may vary throughout different areas in the state, and the type of care and aid programs you qualify for may influence these expenses. In-home care is non-medical care such as meal preparation, walking assistance, transportation and help with routine personal care. Home health care adds medical treatment through skilled nursing care performed at home.
The national average cost of in-home care is $4,957, and $5,148 for home health care. Compared with the national average, care in Tennessee is less expensive at a median cost of $4,576 for both types. However, neighboring states have lower prices. Home care in Kentucky costs about the same as in Tennessee, while both care types cost $4,385 per month in North Carolina. Georgia’s monthly average expense is $4,290 for in-home care and $4,385 for home health care. Mississippi has the lowest price at just $3,813 per month for both care types.
|Home Care||Home Health Care|
When considering your care cost, it’s important to understand what types of care are available. Depending on your needs, you may need adult day care, assisted living, nursing home care or home care. While an assisted living facility can save you about $400 per month compared with home care, many people want to keep their autonomy and connection with the community.
Adult day care costs about $1,733 per month, an assisted living facility may cost $4,105, and nursing home care for a semiprivate room could cost $7,148.
Medicaid is available for disabled Tennesseans or those over the age of 65 who require long-term care. While you can use Medicaid to pay for medical treatments often associated with skilled nursing care, it doesn’t cover home care costs directly. There are two waiver programs available that you may qualify for to reduce your expenses significantly: the CHOICES Program and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.
The Tennessee CHOICES program assists seniors and adults over the age of 21 who need long-term care and wish to live in an assisted care facility or their own homes. This type of waiver covers Home- and Community-Based Services (HBCS). Your local Area Agency on Aging and Disability can help you determine if you’re eligible and apply for the program.
Call (866) 836-6678 to connect with the office that serves your local area.
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
The PACE program is only available for residents living in Hamilton County and offers coverage for anyone over the age of 55 who needs a nursing care level. To qualify for this waiver, you must prove that you can live in your home without any danger to your health or safety. It covers dental and vision care, assistive devices, adult day care, meal preparation, emergency care and home health care services.
It also pays for physical therapy, family caregiver respite programs, prescription medications, transportation and counseling services. If you have questions about the program or wish to apply, call (423) 495-9114.
Medicaid is available for low-income individuals with disabilities or who need long-term care they can’t afford. To qualify for Medicaid, your income must remain under the state threshold for your household size, and you’re not allowed to have sellable assets to pay for your care. The income limit for a single person is $30,276 per year, with an asset limit of $2,000. A couple’s income limit is $60,552 per year with no more than $4,000 in assets.
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
|Two-Person Household with Single Applicant||$30,276 for applicant||$2,000 for applicant and $137,400 for non-applicant|
|Two-Person Household with Both Applicants||$60,552||$4,000|
You must also meet the following conditions:
Tennessee Medicaid is called TennCare, and you can apply online and manage your coverage through your TennCare account. You can also call (855) 259-0701 to speak with a representative.
What Information You Will Need
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
Applying for Medicaid can be stressful because if you provide inaccurate information or make an error on the application, it could delay your coverage. There are resources available for seniors who wish to apply for Medicaid.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Tennessee Justice Center||(615) 255-0331||Entire state||The Tennessee Justice Center offers legal services to low-income Tennesseans, including assistance with their Medicaid application. If Medicaid rejects your application for any reason, the Tennessee Justice Center can also help you file an appeal.|
|Tennessee Consumer Assistance||(800) 342-4029||Entire state||The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) office helps residents across the state apply for insurance benefits, Medicare and Medicaid. You can find out more about your rights and whether you qualify for TennCare by calling the CMS hotline.|
|TN SHIP||Online or (877) 801-0044||Entire state||The State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) helps seniors review their health coverage to find the best options, whether it’s to apply for Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan or TennCare. You can call the SHIP hotline or fill out an online form to see if you’re eligible for benefits, and a SHIP counselor will help you take the next steps.|
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.
If you’ve chosen to age in place, there are resources available at the state and local levels to help you stay connected with your community, receive quality care and take legal action when your rights are violated. These services are often free or require minimal fees to remain affordable to anyone on a fixed or limited income.
|Contact||Area Served||Services Provided|
|Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL)||Local office||Entire state||SAIL is a fitness program for seniors over the age of 65. It focuses on exercises that can help you reduce the chance of experiencing a fall during your lifetime, and it offers classes throughout the state. To sign up, find your local office here.|
|Caregiver Support||(866) 836-6678||Entire state||The Caregiver Support program offers training for family caregivers, respite care, support services and aid to families caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.|
|Aging Nutrition Program||(866) 836-6678||Entire state||The Aging Nutrition Program offers free meals for residents over 60 years old through more than 200 locations across Tennessee. If you cannot reach one of these locations due to physical disability, you can qualify for the meal delivery program.|
|Collaborative Response to Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse (CREVVA)||Local Area Agency on Aging and Disability||Entire state||The CREVVA program offers emergency services to seniors who’ve experienced abuse or neglect. It can provide emergency housing, food, transportation, clothing, and personal care services while pursuing your case and acquiring more permanent accommodations.|
|Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||Contact the agency in your county||Entire state||LIHEAP provides one-time assistance paying for heating and cooling bills to low-income seniors who meet eligibility requirements. Payments are made directly to the utility company on behalf of the senior in need.|
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandates that Tennessee health care workers must have received their full COVID-19 vaccination by March 21, 2022. Individual health care agencies may enact special measures that go beyond state-mandated protocols. In-home care aides and skilled nursing staff may wear masks and personal protection equipment and ask that family members social distance as additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, tuberculosis and influenza.
This information is current as of April 2022. As the pandemic progresses, these rules may change, so it’s important to check for current information about the measures to protect seniors throughout Tennessee.
The Tennessee Department of Health regulates and enforces rules for how its home health care agencies conduct business. Home care providers must adhere to state and federal regulations when providing care.
|What Types of Care Can Be Provided?||Home health services can offer care that includes medically necessary nursing care, companion care, physical therapy and in-home health services. If providing medical treatment, the agency must maintain the proper state license and ensure a medical professional supervises patients.|
|Are Care Plans Required?||Tennessee requires care plans that must include expectations for how caregivers treat a patient’s known medical conditions and the response to emergency care and new conditions. The care plan must also address how to treat pain and who’s responsible for administering skilled nursing care and medical treatments. A physician must approve the treatment plan before initiating it.|
|Can Home Care Providers Assist with Medication Management?||In-home care providers may assist patients with their daily medication routines but may not alter dosages or prescribe new medications.|
|Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides?||All health workers, including in-home care aides, must pass a criminal background check and screening for communicable illnesses such as tuberculosis. No home care aide may have a criminal history that includes a violent crime or sexual misconduct conviction.|
|Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training?||In-home care aides don’t have any special licensing requirements but must receive ongoing training. Registered nurses and nurse practitioners must renew their licenses and recertify regularly to continue treating patients.|
|Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Tennessee?||Medicaid doesn’t cover the cost of home care directly, but the CHOICES waiver may cover your expenses for home care.|
|How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One?||If you are the victim of abuse or neglect or suspect that someone else is the victim of elder abuse, call Adult Protective Services at (888) 227-8366.|
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.