With age comes the need to take some extra precautions, especially in your home to keep you safe from falls and other dangers. Falls are a big risk when you’re older, and they can happen in your home if you’re not careful with common hazards like wires or other obstacles. Not only that, but you also need to make sure your home is safe from floods, fires, or potential intruders. Making sure that your home is safe can be expensive, and most people don’t know where to start. Fortunately, Medicare can cover the costs of home safety assessments, with certain conditions.
Different Types of Medicare Home Safety Assessments
There are multiple categories of home assessments that you should consider to ensure that your home is safe for you and your loved ones. These include:
- Fire hazard assessment – Did you know that older adults over age 65 are twice as likely to die in home fires, and people aged 85 and older are four times as likely to die as compared to the general public? This might be because older adults are less able to react quickly to emergencies, and many live alone, and when accidents happen, there might not be others around to help. But whatever the reason, it is important to ensure your home is as safe as possible by keeping it free of electrical and fire hazards. Don’t smoke in your home, and make sure your electrical system can handle the amount of electricity you use. For example, if you have a ventilator or oxygen machine that requires a lot of power, check to see if your home’s electrical system can handle it, so it does not overheat and cause a fire. In addition, be mindful of how you use power strips, and the state of your electrical wiring.
- Fire response assessment – In addition to assessing your home for fire risks, you should also assess if you will be able to respond quickly and safely should there be a fire in your home. This means having a clear exit in case of fire so that you will not be stuck inside. If anyone in your home uses a wheelchair, doors need to be wide enough to accommodate them, so you don’t lose any time when fleeing a fire. You also need to check that your smoke detectors have batteries and are in good working order. Finally, you should have fire extinguishers in easily accessible areas; these extinguishers should also be checked and serviced regularly so they will work when you need them.
- Home fall risk assessment – 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 falls each year, leading to broken hips, and sometimes death, so this is a very important assessment. Make sure there is no loose carpeting in your home, and that rugs have non-slip pads beneath them and their corners lie flat. You should also ensure that your walkways are clutter-free, any electrical/extension cords are tucked securely away, and your stairs are in good shape, with no loose boards.
Will Medicare Pay For Your Assessments?
Medicare will cover treatment for any injuries if you fall in your home, but it can also cover home safety assessments to help prevent falls. Medicare covers a fall risk assessment as part of your Welcome to Medicare visit; in addition, you might be eligible for a home safety assessment if your doctor orders one after a hospitalization due to a fall.
Medicare will also cover fire risk and response, as well as other home assessments, if you are receiving home health care to make sure you are as safe as possible. It is important to know that Medicare will not cover the bill if a first responder, such as the fire department or an ambulance, comes to your aid unless they transport you to a hospital.
Medicare might also cover durable medical equipment (DME) and possibly some home modifications, such as walk-in tubs and wheelchair ramps: it depends on the DME and the reason for the modifications.
While Medicare might help cover the cost of your home assessments, they will only cover them at 80%, leaving you to pay for the other 20% out-of-pocket. This can be quite expensive, especially if you are living on a fixed income, as many Medicare beneficiaries are. Fortunately, though, you can save money on any medical expenses and get extra coverage by purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan.
There are 10 different Medicare Supplement Plans to choose from, each offering different coverage options and rates. It’s worth looking into a Medicare Supplement Plan to save as much money as you can, so speak to an EZ agent for all of your options. EZ’s agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can compare plans in minutes for you at no cost. To get free instant quotes for plans that cover your current doctors, simply enter your zip code in the bar on the side, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-753-7207.