The ever-so-popular question “does Medicare cover Meals on Wheels?” is always popping up, because many seniors across the country have Original Medicare health-coverage.
Some Medicare plans may provide coverage for Meals on Wheels. However, beneficiaries must meet specific qualifications prior to coverage.
As we get older, we may begin to have difficulty consuming enough nutritious foods for many reasons.
Many older Americans suffer from serious health ailments or disabilities that restrict their ability to get around the house. Cooking can be very dangerous for someone who has a hard time navigating around their home.
Sometimes, the lack of transportation can make grocery shopping trips seem impossible. Maybe your family or relatives don’t live close enough to help.
A nationwide meal delivery service for seniors may be able to help. This program helps individuals in situations where they cannot feed themselves. Currently, they’re operating more than 5,000 programs across the U.S. That’s great news!
This nutrition program not only caters to homebound seniors but also for those unable to feed themselves. Individuals with mental limitations and those unable to afford proper meals may also find Meals on Wheels a beneficial program.
How Medicare Covers Meals on Wheels
The program helps about 2,400,000 seniors across the country. Most of these seniors have Medicare-health coverage. They want to know about Medicare coverage for the Meals on Wheels program.
Medicare doesn’t cover the costs of this service. Although, Part A does cover your meals while you’re an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
In contrast, Medicare Advantage plans may cover meal delivery services. However, these services are not permanent and MA plans limit what they’ll cover. Individuals will need to meet specific qualifications, before getting coverage.
For those who qualify, your MA plan may organize with the staff of the service to have nutritional meals brought right to your doorstep.
Similarly, when returning home from a hospital stay, your health-care provider may order delivery service for your meals. This order is good for up to four weeks.
People suffering from chronic conditions limiting their ability to feed themselves may qualify for up to 2 weeks (per year) of meal delivery services. If you’re needing meal deliveries, contact your plan directly to see if you qualify.
Meals on Wheels: The Benefits
Meals on Wheels is a wonderful program that’s helping feed many seniors and qualifying individuals who can’t cook for themselves. Annually, this program feeds more than 2.4 million Americans. Delivering to homebound seniors who lack access to a healthy food source or for those who simply, just can’t feed themselves.
For individuals that can’t afford to pay for this program, don’t fret. Meals on Wheels isn’t denying anyone service due to financial reasons.
Operating on a sliding payment scale, some of these programs accept food stamps as payment. Each program has its own policy for payment and eligibility requirements. Likewise, some programs are offering extra services such as transportation or pet food delivery.
If this program sounds like it may be beneficial to you, check with your local Meals on Wheels program about qualifying and costs. You can also apply or find a program in your area by visiting the Meals on Wheels website here. For most, the requirements for this program are simple.
Qualifying individuals are those who have trouble leaving their home, are elderly, have a mental and/or physical disability and are unable to feed themselves.
Another perk to this program is they also provide meals to group settings, such as local community centers. By doing this, the individuals that can safely leave their homes are joining others to eat their meals together.
Alternative Meal Delivery Programs
Other meal delivery programs are available nationwide with similar objectives; wanting to help those who need it most. There may be government or health plan assistance available to your area, for some these services are cost-free or very inexpensive and affordable.
Individuals over the age of 65, with disabilities, and/or need help while grocery shopping/preparing meals, should seek alternative programs for meal delivery services.
Medicare/Medicaid members and members of health insurance plans that cover meals on wheels could qualify for other programs.
The Social Security Administration of your state will determine eligibility for Medicaid. However, eligibility is automatic if you’re receiving supplemental security income, work first family assistance or special assistance (for the blind).
Qualifying due to income must demonstrate that they’re incapable of preparing meals by themselves. This can be because of illness or medical condition, preventing them from taking care of themselves or those with disabilities or incapacitation.
People without the help of another to prepare their meals or food will also qualify for Medicaid’s home food delivery program. A refrigerator or freezer to properly store your meals is mandatory to receive services.
Medicare and Medicaid recipients should contact their case manager about eligibility and state rules. Your case manager can send authorizations to these companies once they confirm you’re eligible.
Learn More on How Medicare Covers Meals on Wheels
The Meals on Wheels program is more than just a nutritional food delivery service. This program and ones alike provide a vital element to those bound to their homes.
When necessary, the Meals on Wheels staff will help individuals with other tasks. Staff members can help with things like cleaning, laundry, dressing, bathing, getting the mail, taking the trash out and things of that nature.
Programs such as this, are an amazing resource for seniors and others who have trouble helping and feeding themselves. If Medicare will cover your meals on wheels service, a Medigap policy will cover the gaps in Medicare coverage.