WASHINGTON â€” In a harbinger of potentially big changes for Medicare, seniors in many states will be able to get additional services like help with chores, safety devices and respite for caregivers next year through private “Medicare Advantage” insurance plans.
The shift reflects a growing recognition that simple help at home can have a meaningful impact on patients’ well-being â€” and reduce some costs for taxpayers. A couple of hundred dollars to install grab bars in the shower can prevent a fall leading to a broken hip, a life-changing injury.
The newly covered services are similar to what people might need if they required long-term care, said Howard Gleckman, a senior researcher at the nonpartisan Urban Institute think tank. “It begins to break down the wall between long-term care and Medicare, which with very few exceptions, has never paid for long-term care.”