Sometimes, when just coming home after a hospital stay, the last thing a person wants to do or can do is prepare their meals. Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) is a healthcare option you can choose to increase your Original Medicare coverage and get additional benefits like no-cost home-delivered meals.
Original Medicare, which includes hospital coverage (Part A), and medical coverage (Part B), doesn’t cover the cost of meal delivery services. Part A covers inpatient hospital meals and skilled nursing facility meals, but it doesn’t cover meal delivery services to your home.
Medicare covers some benefit options for meal delivery temporarily. If you qualify, after a hospitalization, Medicare may authorize meal delivery service for up to four weeks if deemed medically necessary and ordered by your physician.
If you are suffering from a chronic illness or condition that limits your ability to feed yourself, you may qualify for two weeks per year to have your meals delivered. This is also with a doctor’s order.
Medicare Advantage coverage
Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) is offered through private insurance companies, covering your medical and hospital benefits. These plans often provide additional benefits beyond Original Medicare, such as dental, vision, hearing, etc.
Medicare Advantage plans may cover meal delivery services post-hospitalization. Before receiving coverage, you will need to meet specific qualifications.
Does Medicare Cover Meals on Wheels?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover Meals on Wheels. However, Meals on Wheels doesn’t deny your meals for financial reasons. It is a fantastic program that helps feed over 2.4 million Americans and other qualifying individuals who cannot cook for themselves. They bring meals to homebound seniors or lack access to healthy foods, so don’t worry if you can’t afford it. They will not deny you service.
Meals on Wheels function on a sliding scale payment process, with some accepting food stamps. Each program has its policies and procedures and eligibility requirements, and some programs even help with pet food delivery and transportation.
For the most part, the requirements for Meals on Wheels are simple. You will qualify if you have difficulty leaving your home, have a physical or mental disability, or cannot feed yourself.
Another incredible asset to Meals on Wheels is they also deliver meals to group settings, like community centers. This way, people can join others and enjoy meals together, such as at your local community center.
Alternative Meal Delivery Programs
Alternative meal delivery services want to help those in need and are available nationwide. If you are over the age of 65, have a disability, or need help preparing meals or grocery shopping, check with your insurance carrier to see which alternative meal delivery programs are available.
Medicaid recipients and some health insurance plans that already cover Meals on Wheels may also qualify for other programs. However, eligibility is automatic if you receive special assistance for the blind, supplemental security income, or work first family assistance. Your state’s Social Security Administration will determine your eligibility for Medicaid.
If you qualify due to your income, you must show that you are not capable of making your meals because of a medical condition or illness that prevents you from caring for yourself, or you are disabled or incapacitated.
People who don’t have help from another person to prepare their food or meals will also qualify for Medicaid’s home food delivery service. A freezer or refrigerator is mandatory to store your foods to receive service properly.