Consumers Guide to Medicaid Planning
Americans live longer than at any time before. The average life expectancy at the turn of the 20th century was about 47 years. As we enter the 21st century, life expectancy has gone up considerably. As a result, in our lives we face more challenges and transitions than the ones that came before us.Learn more by visiting Medicare
One of the most difficult transitions that people face is the shift from living independently in their own home or apartment to living in a long-term care facility or “nursing home.” There are many reasons why this shift is so hard. One is home loss … A home where the person lived memorably for many years. Another is that of losing independence. Another is the loss of the privacy level that we enjoy at home, as nursing home life is often shared with a roommate.
During a time of great stress, most people who make the decision to move to a nursing home do so. Some have been hospitalized after a stroke, some have fallen and broken a hip, others have a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s, and in their own homes they can no longer be cared for.
Whatever the cause, the partner or parent who supports a person in moving to a nursing home during a time of difficulty faces the immediate challenge of selecting the right nursing home. The task is no small one, and when the right home is found and the loved one is moved into the nursing home a huge sigh of relief can be heard. The hardest task for many, however, is just beginning: How to cope with nursing home bills that average more than $7,000 a month.
How to Pay for Home Care:
One of the things about nursing home care that most concerns people is how to pay for that care. There are essentially four ways a nursing home will cost you:
- Long Term Care Insurance-If you ‘re lucky enough to have this kind of coverage, it may go a long way toward paying the nursing home costs. Unfortunately, long-term care insurance has only started to become popular in the last few years and this coverage is not available to most people facing a nursing home stay.
- Pay With Your Own Funds-This is the method many people use at first, even if they wouldn’t have to do it with proper planning. Quite simply, that means paying out your own pocket for the cost of a nursing home. Unfortunately, with nursing home costs running over $7,000 a month, few people can afford a stay in a nursing home for a long time.
- Medicare-This is the national health insurance program primarily for people 65 years of age and older, some younger people with disabilities and those with kidney failure. Medicare provides short-term help with the costs of nursing home, but only if you comply with the strict qualification rules.
- Medicaid-This is a state-funded and state-run medical benefit program that can pay for nursing home costs if certain asset and income tests are carried out.
Our discussion will focus on Medicare and Medicaid, as the first two methods of private pay (i.e. using your own funds) and long-term care insurance are self-explanatory.