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Happy homebound patient sitting on couch with caregiver

How do I know if I am Homebound?

Medicare considers a person homebound if they are unable to leave their home without difficulty. Sometimes, they use the phrase ‘taxing effort’.
So, what exactly does taxing mean? What constitutes difficult? These are common questions that even professionals in the field need to discuss at times.
First of all, homebound status can be temporary. It is typically due to advanced age, illness, or a disability.
Secondly, Medicare considers you homebound if you need the help of another person or medical equipment to leave your home. This could be crutches, a wheelchair, or a walker. An individual may also be considered homebound if their doctor believes that the individual’s health or illness could get worse if they leave their place of residence.
Lastly, Medicare has made some adjustments due to Covid. If the patient has a medical condition that makes them more at risk for contracting Covid and/or experiencing severe outcomes due to Covid exposure, the person can meet the homebound requirement for Home Health services.

Can I leave my home at all?

Yes!  Even if you are homebound, you can still leave your home for the following: 

  • Medical treatment such as Kidney Dialysis, Chemotherapy treatments, radiation therapy.
  • Regular doctor’s appointments
  • Religious services
  • Adult daycare 

Leaving home for short periods or special non-medical events are also allowed. These include: 

  • A family reunion
  • Funeral
  • Graduation

Recipients of home health under Medicare may also take occasional trips to the barber or beauty parlor, grocery store, or even a short walk. However, these events must be infrequent and for short periods of time

Who ultimately decides if someone is homebound?

Generally, the person’s primary physician makes that determination. Oftentimes, providers have questions themselves about what Medicare considers homebound.