I. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Washington

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey for 2021, seniors in Washington can expect to pay an average of $6,547 a month for home care. This is for in-home care, which typically includes personal care and companion services. Home health care, which is more heavily slanted toward medical or rehabilitation services and must be provided by a licensed professional, averages $6,578 per month.

The Cost of Home Care and Home Health Care in Nearby States

Compared to nearby states, Washington is near the high end of costs for both home care and home health services. At $6,547 for home care and $6,578 a month for home health, Washington is significantly more expensive than the national average cost of $4,957 and $5,148 a month, respectively. Nearby Idaho averages $5,434 for both types of care, and Montana also manages a relatively low cost of $5,339. Oregon and California both average $6,101 a month for home health services, and California has the same average price for home care, while home care in Oregon dips to $6,006 a month.

Home Care Home Health Care
Washington $6,547 $6,578
National $4,957 $5,148
Montana $5,339 $5,339
Idaho $5,434 $5,434
Oregon $6,006 $6,101
California $6,101 $6,101

The Cost of Home Care vs. Other Types of Care

Home care costs an average of $6,547 a month in Washington, which is close to the middle rung of costs for senior living in the state. Other types of care can be more expensive, such as the $9,429 a month average cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home. Adult day care is significantly less expensive than home care, at just $2,600 a month. Assisted living averages $6,000 a month.

II. Can Medicaid Help You Pay for Home Care in Washington?

Yes, Ohio Medicaid can help you pay for the cost of in-home care. Intermittent and part-time medical services and persona

Medicaid pays for home health care services if your doctor authorizes the resources for you, but the non-medical services your caregiver provides aren’t typically covered under the program. In order to get coverage for home care services in Washington, you may have to apply for a COPES waiver. This is a support program that pays the cost of a caregiver if the alternative would be for you to leave your home and move into some kind of Medicaid-covered residential care setting, such as a nursing home.

To qualify for a COPES waiver, you must be enrolled in Apple Health and have a medical need that makes you eligible for nursing home care. Your doctor usually has to sign off on your need for a caregiver, and you may have to demonstrate that all of your care requirements can be adequately met if you stay in your home with caregiver support.

l care are covered by Medicaid’s official State Plan. These benefits are available to beneficiaries of all ages, but there are strict limits on income and assets. Additionally, the federal government has given the state permission to operate several waiver programs that cover home care, chore assistance, emergency alert systems and other supports. These services are designed for individuals who require a nursing home level of care but choose to receive similar services at home or in a residential setting. Eligibility requirements and covered services vary depending on the program.

Home Care Waiver Programs in Washington

COPES Waiver

The COPES waiver can connect you with a wide range of support services that aren’t ordinarily covered under Medicaid. Your caregiver can help you at home with activities of daily living, such as grooming, personal care, getting dressed and meal preparation. Caregivers may also shop for groceries or provide transportation for you to and from medical appointments. There are limits to what counts as a covered caregiver service under a COPES waiver. Ask a program worker about the services your caregiver can provide for you and be compensated for. Respite care may also be included in your COPES support. This provides a space for your caregiver to take a break while you continue to get the care services you need to thrive.

You can sign up for Apple Health and a COPES waiver by calling (855) 923-4633. Visit a local Social and Health Services office to apply in person or submit an application for both programs online at the state’s benefits hub. As part of the approval process, you may have a telephone interview or a home visit from a program intake worker. This worker can assess your needs and make a recommendation to approve your care for a given number of hours each month when your caregiver is able to provide support.

How to Know if You're Eligible for Medicaid in Washington

To qualify for Apple Health, you must meet certain financial eligibility requirements. For a single adult applying for regular Medicaid, the maximum annual income is $30,276, while married couples applying together can earn up to $60,552. Single applicants can own up to $2,000 in countable financial assets, while married couples can have up to $3,000. These assets don’t include much of the equity in the house you live in, a personal vehicle and various personal items such as clothing and jewelry. If one spouse is applying for coverage and the other isn’t, the single-applicant limits apply to the spouse who needs coverage. The non-applicant spouse may own up to $137,400 in countable assets.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Washington
Income Limits* Asset Limits
Single Person $30,276 $2,000
Two-Person Household $60,552 $3,000
Married Couple (One Spouse Applying) $30,276 (Applicant) $2,000 (Applicant)

$137,400 (Non-Applicant)

* per year

In addition to the financial requirements, you must also meet these criteria to be eligible for Apple Health:

  • Have U.S. citizenship or permanent legal resident status
  • Permanently reside in Washington state
  • Have a medically verifiable disability or chronic health condition that requires care

How to Apply for Medicaid in Washington

You can apply for Apple Health online or by phone at (855) 923-4633. You can drop off print applications at a Social and Health Services office in your area. If you’re applying online, create an account during your first visit to the site and store your information for later. If possible, submit copies of your supporting documents at the time you send in your original application. This allows for easy verification of your claim and speeds up the approval process.

What Information You Will Need

Medicaid has to verify that you are eligible for benefits before it can approve you for coverage. To hurry this along, it helps to have your documents ready to go when the intake worker gets in touch for an interview. Your worker may ask you to provide any or all of these documents:

  • Proof of citizenship or legal status
  • State-issued ID
  • Bank and other financial statements showing your income and available cash
  • Pay stubs

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Applying for Medicaid can be an ordeal, as the paperwork and verification requirements create a tangle, and you may not be clear about all of your options. Fortunately, seniors in Washington have resources available to help pick through all the choices and file a successful application. These free resources can help you prepare your application, pick the right options for your needs or file your appeal after a denial.

Contact Area Served Services Provided
Washington State Healthcare Authority Online Entire State The Washington State Healthcare Authority operates a free online resource to help you get useful information about Apple Health, COPES waivers, caregiver resources and many other state programs that provide needed support for seniors aging in place in Washington.
Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (800) 562-6900 Entire State The Office of the Washington Insurance Commissioner offers seniors free advice about Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance through its public helpline. Unbiased state advisors can help you understand your options for getting all the insurance you need, keep you up to date on fraud and educate you and your loved ones about how to find the best insurance coverage in Washington state.
Northwest Justice Project Online Entire State The Northwest Justice Project is a nonprofit legal aid society that offers seniors free, confidential and unbiased advice for elder law issues and other fields of law. Lawyers working with the society can advise you about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid issues, inheritance and family matters and filing an appeal for benefits. The society’s online self-help tool can show you how to draft legal documents for yourself at no cost.

III. Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Home Care in Washington?

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:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is used to help patients recover from injuries (broken bones, knee injuries, etc.), and to treat ongoing conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, physical therapy is often provided in the home to help seniors recover from surgeries and procedures, such as a knee or hip replacement.
  • Nursing Care: Licensed nurses can provide a number of medical services (such as wound care, changing feeding tubes, etc.) for those who need medical care, but don’t need to stay in a hospital full-time.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy is designed to help seniors regain or maintain the ability to accomplish normal, daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, eating, etc., and providers can travel to your home if needed.
  • Speech Therapy: Seniors can lose the ability to adequately communicate for many reasons, and speech therapists are there to help seniors regain the ability to communicate using a variety of means. Additionally, speech therapists help to keep seniors independent by modifying diets and teaching special techniques to swallow safely.

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.

IV. Other Financial Assistance Options for Home Care in Washington

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.

V. Free Resources for Aging in Place in Washington

With a bit of help, seniors in Washington can live independently in their own homes and enjoy a high quality of life, avoiding placement in a residential facility. These organizations offer free and low-cost help for seniors aging in place with social, legal and material resources.

Contact Area Served Services Provided
Aging and Disability Resource Center (360) 725-3548 Entire State Washington’s ADRCs support seniors with a variety of services, including short-term respite care. The ADRC serves as an entry point for seniors planning their living arrangements, and it can assist with transition services back into the community after a stay in nursing care.
Volunteer Services (360) 902-0656 Entire State VS members perform a large number of humanitarian services in Washington, including delivery of hot meals to seniors in their homes and companion service for socially isolated seniors. Volunteers work with seniors who may not be eligible for other, more restrictive, state assistance programs, typically for terms of between 2 and 8 months. All services are available at no cost for seniors who would have trouble paying for assistance.
Washington State Comptroller (360) 534-1502 Entire State The Washington Comptroller is responsible for collecting taxes and managing property on behalf of the state. The Comptroller’s office administers the state’s senior tax rebates, and the office periodically issues fraud alerts and warnings about insurance issues that affect seniors.
Meals on Wheels Washington (360) 725-2300 Entire State Meals on Wheels is an invaluable support system for many seniors in Washington state. Volunteers with a variety of local agencies deliver prepared meals to seniors who may not otherwise be able to meet their dietary needs while living at home.
Weatherization Assistance Program (360) 259-4749 Entire State The Weatherization Assistance Program helps seniors save energy and money on their utility bills with a number of free services. Services include home energy audits to find inefficiencies, home upgrades and modifications to improve insulation and climate control, and the inspection, cleaning and maintenance of HVAC systems.

VI. Vaccination Requirements & COVID-19 Rules for Home Care Aides in Washington

In Washington state, all workers who have contact with seniors must obtain either proof of current vaccination status for COVID-19 or provide a valid medical or religious exemption. This mandate applies to employees, agents and contractors working in both licensed and unlicensed capacities, whether they’re employed by a Medicare/Medicaid participant agency or not. This is a state mandate in addition to the federal mandate that applies to agencies that receive funds from Medicare.

These rules are current as of May 2022, but the situation can quickly change. If you have any questions or concerns about vaccines or the vaccination status of your caregiver, home care aide or other agency worker, check with your local licensed home care agency for a complete list of rules.

VII. Rules and Regulations for Home Care Providers in Washington

The Washington State Department of Health administers the Revised Code of Washington on behalf of the legislature. The Department drafts standards and monitors compliance with the rules with inspections and voluntary compliance measures. Licensed agencies in Washington operate under two sets of regulations, the rules set out in Chapter 246.335 WAC and the laws detailed in Chapter 70.127 RCW. The table below contains a high-level overview of how these rules and laws are applied to encourage the highest level of care for Washington seniors.

What Types of Care Can Be Provided? In Washington, home care services include personal care, companion services and household chore assistance. Personal care includes help with activities of daily living. Home care is not the same as home health care, which is a medically oriented set of supports provided by licensed medical professionals.
Are Care Plans Required? Washington requires home care agencies to develop a comprehensive plan of care for their clients.
Can Home Care Providers Assist With Medication Management? Caregivers and home care aides can assist clients with self-administered medications, but they may not administer medication on their own.
Are There Special Requirements for Screening Home Care Aides? Home care aides in Washington must undergo screening and a background check before they can be in contact with clients or other potentially vulnerable seniors.
Are Home Care Aides Required to Undergo Special Training? Caregivers in Washington must pass an initial 75-hour training course before working on their own in a client-contact role. This training must be finished within 120 days of the caregiver’s initial hire date. At the end of the training course, aides must either obtain state certification or stop work.
Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in Texas? Apple Health doesn’t directly pay for home care services, but many seniors in the state can get caregiver support through a COPES waiver.
How Do I Report Abuse of Myself or a Loved One? Contact Adult Protective Services at (877) 734-6277.


VIII. How to Find a Home Care Provider in Washington

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.

Download PDF Here

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