Papa Pal is an online companion and caregiver service that supports older adults. Using an app on their phone, members can get connected to “Papa Pals” who can provide companionship. They can also help with light housekeeping, transportation, grocery shopping, and more. You cannot be a Papa Pal member unless you’re enrolled in a health plan that includes a Papa Pal membership as a benefit. 

As of 2024, Papa Pal services are included as a benefit for around 100 health plans. Some plans that include Papa Pal services as a benefit are standard Medicare Advantage plans and some are Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans. Medicaid and some employer coverage can offer Papa Pal as a benefit as well.

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into what Papa Pal is, where you can find it, and how Papa Pal coverage works. 

Key takeaways:

  • Papa Pal is an online platform that connects older adults with companion and caregiver services. It’s a benefit provided by around 100 health plans, including some standard Medicare Advantage plans and some Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans. 

  • Papa Pal caregivers (called Papa Pals) provide companionship, technology assistance, help with grocery shopping, light housekeeping, and more. 

  • Individual health plans determine how many hours of service are covered with your Papa Pal membership.

  • Medicaid and employer insurance plans may also cover Papa Pal. 

Papa Pal: companion care for older adults

Founded in 2017, Papa Pal is an online platform that connects older adults to companions and caregivers. The app and its services are available in all 50 US states, and around 100 health plans provide a Papa Pal membership as a benefit. 

If your health plan includes Papa Pal, you can use the app to connect you to a local companion, called a Papa Pal. A visit from a Papa Pal can look different depending on what members need. 

Papa Pals can provide:

  • Companionship: Members can spend time participating in hobbies with their Papa Pals. These hobbies could include reading, watching movies, and talking. 

  • Help with light housekeeping and errands: Papa Pals can help with folding laundry, light cleaning, meal prep, grocery shopping, and pet care.  

  • Help with transportation: Companions can drive members to doctor appointments, exercises classes, and other activities. 

  • Help with technology: Papa Pals can assist members with technology issues like setting up medical alert systems or troubleshooting phone issues. 

  • Help with childcare: Some members with children can benefit from a Papa Pal’s help with childcare. Children must be over the age of 3, and parents must be present for parental support.  

Unlike Visiting Angels and other home-care agencies, Papa Pal does not provide custodial care such as grooming, bathing, or personal hygiene. It also doesn't provide hospice care or skilled nursing care. 

Does Medicare cover Papa Pal?

Some standard Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans include Papa Pal as an extra benefit. The specific types of visits and service hours that are covered are determined by the plans. For example, Braven Health Medicare Advantage Plans (only available in New Jersey) offer Papa Pal as an in-home support benefit. 

Members with a Braven Health Medicare Advantage plan have access to Papa Pal’s services, including companionship, transportation, help with everyday activities, technical assistance, grocery shopping, and more. These plans offer 36 hours of Papa Pal’s service per year, and members can purchase additional hours if they want. 

What other insurance does Papa Pal accept?

Medicaid and employer insurance may also include a Papa Pal membership. The company may partner with more health plans in the future to expand their supportive services. 

Medicare coverage for in-home care

Medicare has coverage for in-home care only under certain circumstances. If you’re “homebound” and you have trouble leaving home due to a medical condition, Medicare may cover some home health services. These services include:

Medicare won’t pay for custodial care, housekeeping, companionship, or 24-hour care at home. As we age, services like Papa Pal can help us age in place by combating loneliness and providing support for everyday tasks. Learn what else Medicare covers in regards to home health care with the help of a licensed Medicare Advisor at 855-900-2427 or schedule a time to chat.

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