The older you get, the more important it is that you make sure your home is a safe and secure place for spending your golden years. Statistically speaking, one in four older citizens will suffer a catastrophic fall this year — and it’s not uncommon for such falls to cause serious injury or death. Thankfully, you may have resources at your disposal that can get you a complete home safety assessment.

And here’s some good news: both Medicare and local assistance programs may be able to help you pay for it.

Why is a Home Safety Assessment Important?

A trained professional who has experience identifying potential hazards in your home performs the home safety assessment. They will inspect the outside of your property as well as the interior of your domicile while performing the assessment. Some of the ways the assessment can improve safety in your home include:

  • Moving books, papers, furniture, and other large objects to keep your pathways clear
  • Securing rugs or replacing them with sturdier flooring
  • Securing any faulty wiring, open sockets, or other electrical hazards
  • Cable management to keep loose wires out of your way
  • Fixing a broken staircase and making sure it is well lit at night
  • Keeping the items you used most on lower shelves so that you don’t have to reach or climb ladders
  • Securing your bathroom with handrails, non-slip mats, and other accessories which enhance safety
  • Equipping your house with plenty of phones or equipping yourself with a medical alert device in case you fall and cannot get up
  • Make sure your home has working smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and extinguishers

Some Medicare beneficiaries may balk at the idea of needing a home safety assessment. But it actually does more for maintaining your independence than ignoring potential pitfalls in your home.

Given the fact that there are so many resources that will help you pay for one — including Medicare — there’s no real reason not to have the assessment performed.

How Medicare Handles Home Safety Assessments

Your home safety assessment may be deemed medically necessary by Medicare if you have had a recent home injury that sent you to the hospital. You may also qualify for a free home safety assessment if you require certain types of home health care. In either case, your Part A hospital benefits will cover this.

If you have already met your $1,556 deductible for your current benefit period, then the assessment will be free. Otherwise, you may have to pay for it.

It’s not uncommon for a free home safety assessment to be included in your Welcome to Medicare visit which most beneficiaries are eligible for once they enroll.

This is likely covered under Medicare Part B because it counts toward your preventative care. If all you have is Original Medicare, you might have to pay a 20% coinsurance fee for the assessment.

If you’re having trouble getting Medicare to pay for your home safety assessment, you might want to try contacting someone from the National Council on Aging. It’s a non-profit which performs free assessments for those in the areas where the organization operates. Don’t hesitate to contact them directly if you need their help.

Home Safety Assessments and Medicare Supplement Insurance

As far as Medicare supplement insurance goes, if you have Original Medicare and a Medigap plan which helps cover your Part A and Part B coinsurance costs, you won’t have to pay 20% of the cost of a Medicare-approved home safety assessment.

All of the available Medigap plans help cover Original Medicare coinsurance costs. Only Plan C helps with your Part A and Part B deductibles, which can be a part of your home safety assessment cost.

Home Safety Assessments and Medicare Advantage

There’s also Medicare Advantage — but since these plans vary from one beneficiary to the next, you’ll have to contact your insurance agent to find out for sure whether or not a home safety assessment is a part of your benefits.

But the good news is that Medicare Advantage has a requirement to offer as many benefits as Original Medicare at the same cost, so it’s likely your plan will as well.

FAQs

Who can perform a home safety assessment?

It must be a trained healthcare professional. This can include a social worker or an occupational therapist, for instance.

Why do you need a home safety assessment?

It’s important to get a home safety assessment because it evaluates potential risks inside the home and ways to eliminate them, therefore reducing your risk of becoming seriously injured in your dwelling.

How much is a home safety assessment?

Medicare may be able to help you pay for it, but if you had to pay completely out of pocket, it can range up to $200.

Need Help With Your Home Safety Assessment?

There are all sorts of ways to get a home safety assessment at little or no cost to you, especially through Medicare.

If you have an interest in going forward, reach out and contact one of our Medicare licensed insurance agents who are experts. They can help guide you through the process and help you enjoy a safer, healthier home.

So give us a call today. Or take a minute to fill out our online rate form to get the best rates in your area.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.