The senior care world is full of change, emotion, and confusing acronyms (SNF’s, ALF’s, CNA’s, and POC’s). One of the more difficult questions to answer is- how am I going to pay for this? Here are several ways you can finance care:
- Medicare– A federal health insurance program, Medicare is designed provide short-term care for those older than 65 and people with disabilities (who have paid into the system). There are 4 parts to Medicare, with each covering different components of health care (Hospitalization, Medications, etc). Medicare A (what most people have) will usually help pay for hospital stays, some of a nursing home (Skilled Nursing Facility) visit, home health treatment, and some medical supplies. Home Care, Assisted Living, and other “non-skilled” options are not usually covered under Medicare.
- Medicaid- Medicaid is a free or low cost healthcare option for those over age 66. It is reserved for “financial need,” meaning income has to be below a certain dollar number (different in every state) and non-exempt assets have to be below a certain value (different in every state). Medicaid is state assistance. If the financial criteria are met, a person must require care of some sort (he/she cannot care for himself/herself). If that is the case, a person may be eligible for Medicaid and can apply through the Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS in Washington State). Medicaid will help pay for all costs of health care, including Home Care, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, or Hospital visits. However, not every provider accepts Medicaid, and being enrolled in state assistance can limit the options available.
- Private Health Insurance- The health insurance field has narrowed over the years, but this designee is typically a provider either purchased privately or acquired through employment. Common examples in Washington State are Tricare (and Tricare for life) for former military members, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Regence. Private health insurance coverage differs for each plan, but generally will cover the non-Medicare covered portions of hospitalization, nursing home, therapies, physician visits, and medications. Most private health insurance plans do not cover long term care items like Assisted Living, Home Care, or extended nursing home stays.
- Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension- This little known and underutilized benefit is available to a United States Veteran or their surviving spouse. The benefit ranges from $1150-$2200 per month, depending on the situation. To be eligible for the benefit, a person must prove three major points– 1) Military Service (with some fine print) 2) Medical Need and 3)Financial Need. Contact us today to see if you might be eligible for the benefit.
- Long Term Care Insurance- In preparation for aging, your parent may have purchased a long term care insurance policy years ago. If care is currently needed, there is a good chance this policy will cover at least part of the costs. Most policies come with some fine print and yellow tape, but we would be happy to help you navigate those waters. The sooner you work towards filing the claim, the sooner your likely to be reimbursed. These policies cover almost all senior care options, including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, and in-home care.
- Private Pay- The option we’re all hopeful it won’t come down to is “out of pocket” cost. We finance our own care. More often than not, seniors are left with at least a few gaps to cover with their own income and savings.
Those are the most common forms of payment in the senior care universe. There are always exceptions, and we would love to answer any questions you might have about financing your parent’s care.