Some of the services you or your loved one may need in the home will be covered by insurance; others will not. There may be subsidies available to individuals who meet financial eligibility criteria to help pay for some of the out-of-pocket expenses.
Information and Referral services are available at no cost. Many publications are available free of charge; some organizations may charge a fee for certain (usually larger) books/booklets or there may be a shipping and handling charge.
Below is a brief explanation of the cost of services described in the Description of Services section:
A number of screenings are offered free of charge at community or hospital-based health fairs. Mammograms, PAP smears and prostate and colorectal screenings are usually covered in full or in part by health insurance.
An older person who has Medicare Part B can have an annual flu vaccine as well as pneumonia vaccine at no additional cost at many hospital-sponsored health fairs. The Maryland Access Point (MAP) Offices can provide a list of locations in which vaccines are offered to seniors in this manner. In Baltimore County, the MAP office can be reached by calling 410-887-2594.
A geriatric evaluation should be covered by one's health insurance. The out-of-pocket costs would be the same as those the person would normally pay for doctors' visits and lab testing. (For individuals with Medicare there is a 20 percent co-pay for these services. A Medigap policy will cover the 20 percent co-pay and deductibles.
If you or your loved one chooses to join a health club, it is important to look at all the membership options, as rates vary greatly. Also, remember to ask if there is a discount for older persons. Some senior centers have state-of-the-art fitness centers and charge less than private fitness centers; others offer a range of fitness classes and some exercise equipment. The cost of classes will vary.
- Health Education
Many health education classes are free; some charge fees. You may want to do a little shopping to find the best class at the right price.
- Counseling and Support Services
Some community-based mental health services may be covered by insurance. It is important to check your policy. Medicare Part B pays for selective services provided by a mental health care professional who can be paid by Medicare. Medicare's pamphlet, Medicare and Your Mental Health Benefits (PDF), is helpful in fully understanding what services are available for Medicare recipients.
- Nutrition Education
Nutrition education classes in senior centers and nutrition sites are offered free of charge. There may be a fee for nutrition education classes offered in hospitals or other settings. The classes with fees are usually those providing nutrition education about specific diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
- Adult Medical Day Centers
The cost of adult day services varies, as do the payment mechanisms. Many participants pay privately for services but there are other funding mechanisms, including Medical Assistance, state funding and payment through a long-term care insurance policy.
- Home Health Care
Medicare, private insurance and long-term care insurance policies cover skilled care provided in the home. Personal care (non-skilled care) may be covered in limited cases by one's long-term care insurance policy, but is usually available on a private pay basis only. There may be funding available to help you pay for some types of care through the Senior Care Program, a gap-filling program offered across the state.
Another statewide program that may provide personal care services at a reduced rate is the In-Home Aide Service (IHAS) program. The local Department of Social Services operates the IHAS program. This service provides assistance with personal care (dressing, bathing, eating, personal grooming) and chores (cooking, laundry, light housekeeping, shopping). The goal of the program is to help an adult with a disability remain in the community. The fee is based on a sliding scale. Some individuals will pay little or no fee for this service. To apply for the IHAS program, contact the local Department of Social Services office serving your area.
- Housekeeping and Chore Services
There are specific cases in which there may be Senior Care Program funding available for chore services. However, most chore services must be paid for privately.
- Food Delivery
Food delivery from a grocery store must be paid for privately. If an older person receives meals through the Meals on Wheels program, he or she may be eligible for a subsidy. Ask the Meals on Wheels office about subsidies.
- Volunteer Programs
Volunteer programs that provide in-home assistance are free.
- Prescription Deliveries
A number of large pharmacies offer free delivery. Some charge a fee for the service. It is important to shop around for the best price—looking at the price of the delivery service as well as the price of the medications.
- Hair Care
These services must be paid for privately.
The Maryland Transit Administration offers reduced rates for older riders in all their public transportation programs. The specialized transportation programs offered by local government agencies usually provide transportation at a reduced rate, using grants to subsidize riders. The Medical Assistance Transportation Program is available free of charge to Medical Assistance recipients.
Recreation, Socialization, Education
The cost of recreation programs varies greatly, based upon where one goes for recreational programs. Programs offered in senior centers, community colleges and recreation and parks facilities are usually available free or at a reduced rate for older individuals. Health clubs may offer a senior citizen discount.
There are a number of programs to assist the homeowner with the cost of remodeling or modifying an existing home, thus allowing an older person to more comfortably and safely remain in the home.