Assisted Living and Home Care vs Walk-In Tubs

Jun 15, 2016

If you are a senior who's paying for home care services or assisted living but you want to have a quality bath without the help of others, a walk-in tub could be what you're looking for.

They are home to many features designed to make you feel cared for without inhibiting your independence or risking your safety. No traditional bathtub is capable of this. Where normal bathtubs fail to successfully keep a senior safe, comfortable, and relaxed, walk-in tubs succeed.

Tailored and built to fit your body measurements and your therapeutic needs, these senior tubs put the joy back in bathing while eliminating the need for a caregiver.

Non-skilled caregivers will cost at least $200 a month while certified nursing assistants will cost at least $400 a month. If a senior with mobility challenges installs a walk-in bathtub, they could theoretically eliminate the need for a caregiver altogether and save thousands of dollars over the course of three, two, or even one year.

Aid for Home Care and Assisted Living

Aid for Home Care and Assisted Living

It is, however, easier to get insured for assisted living and home care than it is to purchase or install a walk-in bathtub. The reason being that Medicare and Medicaid (with the exception of a few subcategories) consider the tub to be a luxury item, and not "durable medical equipment" (DME) as per Medicare's guidelines for eligibility.

It is difficult to get Medicare/Medicaid coverage for home care and assisted living but it is more probable that you'll get some form of aid under certain conditions, such as the ones in the table below.


The Conditions for Medicare/Medicaid Insurance of Home Care and Assisted Living
Personal Home Care Medicare
  • You (the patient) are certified by a doctor as being homebound.
  • You're put under the care of a doctor.
  • The doctor must certify that you need some form of intervenous therapy from medical personnel skilled nursing care.
  • The health agency providing the service must be recognized and approved by Medicare.
  • The patient must meet his/her state's home-based services requirements.
  • The patient's income and assets must be below a certain level in order to qualify.
Veterans Aid
  • The patient must be at least 65 years old.
  • The patient needs to be a veteran that served in one of the wars.
  • The "Housebound Benefit" requires that the patient needs housebound assistance for daily domestic tasks.
  • The patient must need home care on a daily basis.
Assisted Living Medicare
  • Medicare refers to assisted living as "custodial care".
  • Medicare will only cover medical costs that meet Medicare requirements and will not cover the costs of an assisted living facility. 
  • Some exceptions are given to patients that need a rehab facility following hospitalization as that is tied in with their recovery.
  • Some programs in some states will cover the costs for seniors staying at an assisted living facility.
Veterans Aid
  • The Basic Pension is designed to help low-income veterans who are at least 65 years of age and who have served in a war with some form of monetary aid when they need it.

Learn more about Medicare, Medicaid, and VA coverage of walk-in tubs.

Comparing the Costs of Walk-In Tubs with That of Medical Assistance

Wheelchair-Accessible Walk-in Tub

Walk-in tubs with the standard safety features and some hydrotherapy options cost between $1,800 and $2,500. Doubling these numbers immediately puts you in the wheelchair accessible tier of walk-in bathtub models. If you're wheelchair-bound and face trouble when trying to transfer from seat to seat, the grab bars located in easy-to-reach areas of the tub's rim can aid you upon entry and exit. You can get a very accessible bariatric bathtub for $2,600 - $5,000 which includes all the safety features walk-in tubs are famous for (i.e. textured anti-slip floor, grab bars, sturdy tub body, low-threshold entry, wheelchair accessibility, anti-scald technology, etc.).

Installation costs of walk-in tubs vary depending on the size of the project and falls between $500 and $8,000. Most installations of these tubs don't require a renovation or remodel of your bathroom since they are very easy to install that the internet is flooded with DIY guides.

Find out how you can get the cheapest accessible bathtubs on the market here.

Considering that the average costs for home care and assisted living are between $2,500 and $3,200 a month, you're looking at annual costs of up to $30,000 - $38,304. If you install a walk-in tub in your home, you can effectively reduce the hours you need from a caregiver, and get some of that money back over a few years, all the while having a quality bath in a comfortable and therapeutic tub.

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