Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Does Medicare Cover Long Term Nursing Home Care

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What Are The Requirements For Medicare Nursing Home Coverage

How Does Medicare Cover Long Term Care, Nursing Home Care, and Skilled Nursing Facility Care?

Before Medicare covers skilled nursing home costs, you must have a qualifying hospital stay of at least three inpatient days prior to your nursing home admission. You must have inpatient status for at least three days time spent in the emergency department or observation unit doesnt count toward the three-day requirement.

If you refuse nursing care or medical therapies recommended by your doctor while you are in a skilled nursing facility, you may lose your Medicare nursing home coverage.

What About Medigap Supplements

Medigap supplement plans are sold by private insurance companies and help to cover additional costs, such as deductibles.

Some Medigap plans may help to pay for skilled nursing facility co-insurance. These include plans C, D, F, G, M, and N. Plan K pays for about 50 percent of the coinsurance and Plan L pays for 75 percent of coinsurance.

However, Medigap supplement plans dont pay for long-term nursing home care.

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Medicaid Eligibility For Nursing Home Care

Medicaid coverage, like many other financial assistance programs, is dependent on a variety of factors such as age, financial status, assets, and level of care. If you need assistance for long-term nursing home care, you should check to see if you meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements in the state that youre currently residing in. Typically, one of the requirements of eligibility is that a majority of your income needs to be used to pay for the cost of your nursing home.

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What Is The Difference Between A Skilled Nursing Facility And A Nursing Home

At a skilled nursing facility, care is usually provided by registered nurses under the supervision of a doctor. Generally, patients will go to a skilled nursing facility for recovery after an injury, sickness or surgery. The care is usually meant to be temporary, with patients returning home once they are able.

At a nursing home, the care is typically more long-term. Licensed practical nurses or nurse aides help residents with daily life functions, such as bathing, dressing or eating. This care is meant for patients who may not be able to live comfortably on their own due to chronic conditions.5

Medicare For Nursing Homes Expert Tips

Does Medicare Cover Home Care?
  • If you are considering a nursing home for long-term care, plan ahead if you can. Have conversations about the possibility of a nursing home down the road. Talk early, talk often. Involve your loved one in decision-making if at all possible.
  • Visit the nursing home you are considering. Plan to spend a few hours there and talk with as many residents and family members as you can about their experience. Notice the atmosphere and how the nursing home smells. Interview the administrator and ask about how they handle complaints and how they involve the residents and family in the plan of care. Spend time in the dining room as well.
  • Try to find a quality nursing home as close to your home as possible to make frequent visits more feasible. However, choose quality over proximity.
  • Understand Medicares rules about coverage of skilled care if you are going to a nursing home for a short-term stay after hospitalization. Talk with the hospital discharge planner and the nursing home admissions nurse or social worker. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, make sure you have prior authorization for a network facility.

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Do Advantage Plans Cover Any Part Of It

Medicare Advantage plans dont usually cover nursing home care thats considered custodial care. A few exceptions exist, including if a persons plan has a contract with a specific nursing home or organization that operates nursing homes.

Always contact your plan provider before going to a particular nursing home so you understand what services are and arent covered under your Medicare Advantage plan.

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There’s A 70% Chance You’ll Need Some Type Of Long

Americans have plenty of reasons to dread buying traditional long-term care insurance. The policies are expensive, with rising annual premiums and so many different elements that shopping for one is overwhelming. “It can be a complex and oftentimes frustrating experience,” says Tom Beauregard, founder of HCG Secure in Goshen, Conn., which sells long-term care insurance with a focus on aging at home.

The market and the policies have also evolved over the years. In fact, anyone whose idea of long-term care insurance was shaped by the policies their parents or grandparents had may be in for a rude awakening. “They’re like Rolls Royce policies compared with what we have today,” says Brian Gordon, president of Murray A. Gordon and Associates, a long-term care insurance broker in Bannockburn, Ill. “But they didn’t cover home health care, so that’s the give and take.”

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Whats A Qualifying Hospital Stay

Another important rule: You must have had a qualifying hospital stay, meaning you were formally admitted as an inpatient to the hospital for at least three consecutive days. You cannot have been in observation status.

In both cases you are lying in a hospital bed, eating hospital food and being attended to by hospital doctors and nurses. But time spent under observation does not count toward the three-day requirement for Medicare coverage in a skilled nursing facility.

When you enter the hospital, ask if you are being officially admitted or for observation. If the latter, you may want to appeal to your doctor to see if you can be switched to inpatient status. Two more things to note about the three-day rule:

  • Medicare Advantage plans, which match the coverage of original Medicare and often provide additional benefits, often dont have those same restrictions for enrollees. Check with your plan provider on terms for skilled nursing care.
  • Skilled nursing facilities are the only places that have to abide by the rule. If youre discharged from the hospital to another kind of facility for ongoing care, such as a rehabilitation hospital, Medicare provides coverage under different rules.

If you qualify for short-term coverage in a skilled nursing facility, Medicare pays 100 percent of the cost meals, nursing care, room, etc. for the first 20 days. For days 21 through 100, you bear the cost of a daily copay, which was $170.50 in 2019.

What Is A Nursing Home

Long Term Care: What Medicare Covers

A nursing home is a place where a person can receive extra care services from nurses or nurses aides.

Many of these facilities may be homes or apartments for people who need extra care for their daily activities or who no longer desire to live alone. Some resemble hospitals or hotels with rooms with beds and baths and common spaces for classes, recreation, eating, and relaxing.

Most nursing homes provide around-the-clock care. Services can vary, but may include help to go to the bathroom, assistance getting medications, and meal services.

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Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Homes

Medicaid is a means-tested program, which people must meet strict financial eligibility requirements to qualify. If your income drops below the qualifying mark and you are accepted into the program, Medicaid will cover 100% of your nursing home expenses at a Medicaid-approved facility.

Although there are some exceptions to the rule to protect the livelihood of a spouse, Medicaid generally begins paying for nursing home care once your assets fall below $2,000. Individual eligibility requirements vary based on your age, marital status and home state, so check with your local Medicaid office to learn more and apply for benefits.

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Out Of Pocket Expenses

Medicare will provide a strong health insurance underpinning, but there are some out-of-pocket expenses that you have to cover on your own.

There is a $148.50 monthly deductible for Part B, which is the portion of the program pays for treatments that are administered by doctors and other health care professionals. The deductible for this coverage is $203, and you have to pay 20 percent of the costs out of your own pocket.

Part A covers hospitalization, and you do not have to pay a monthly premium for this coverage, but there is a $1484 deductible this year. A coinsurance payment is required for stays that exceed 60 days in duration.

The prescription drug coverage can be purchased from a variety of providers. There are different coinsurance, premium, and deductible arrangements depending on the specific plan that you decide to use.

These expenses can be manageable if you plan ahead for retirement effectively, but there is one looming expense that is not easily handled. Medicare does not cover a stay in a nursing home, and it does not pay for in-home care that is provided by a paid caregiver.

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When You Need Part

Updated By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney

Progressive health care professionals often encourage people to get out of hospitals and nursing facilities and into their own or family members homes while recovering from injury or illness. With less honorable motives, insurance companies also pressure hospitals to release patients earlier so that if they continue to receive care, it will be a less costly variety at home.

In response to both these movements, many new home health care agencies have sprung up. Youre increasingly likely to find such an agency in your local area. Most are able to provide care for patients who no longer need high-level care in a hospital but who still require part-time nursing or rehabilitative therapy.

People Suffering From A Stroke Alzheimers Parkinsons Als Or Multiple Sclerosis May Get Additional Coverage

Does Medicare Cover Long

Certain medical conditions may provide for additional coverage from Medicare. Medicare may cover long-term services to help prevent further decline due to medical conditions that may not improve over time, such as a stroke or Alzheimers disease. Youll want to check with Medicare or your Medicare plan provider to understand what services may be offered and how cost sharing works.

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Do Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans Cover Nursing Home Costs

Some Medicare Supplement insurance plans include increased coverage in skilled nursing facilities . Medicare Supplement insurance plans may cover your out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and other medical services covered under Part A and Part B while you are a nursing home resident.

You can start comparing Medicare Advantage plans right away just enter your zip code in the box on this page.

New To Medicare?

Becoming eligible for Medicare can be daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand Medicare in 15 minutes or less.

When Medicare Won’t Pay For Nursing Home Care

Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker. She has co-authored two books for the popular Dummies Series .

Medicare is not a one-stop-shop. While it covers a wide breadth of services, it may leave you to fend for yourself when it comes to certain healthcare essentials as you grow older. For example, it doesn’t cover corrective lenses , dentures, hearing aids, or white canes for the blind. Certain medications are off the table, too, even if you have a Part D prescription drug plan.

This is because Medicare does not consider these things to be medically necessary. Unfortunately, what they also do not see as medically necessary are custodial care and long-term nursing home placement.

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Medicare Part A Covers Services Received In Long

Medicare Part A provides hospital insurance and covers care received in a long-term care hospital . You may qualify for this type of care if you meet the following two requirements:

  • You have more than one serious health condition
  • You may improve with care and time, eventually being able to return home

You generally must meet your Part A deductible for each benefit period during which you are admitted for an inpatient stay at an LTCH. The 2022 Medicare Part A deductible is $1,556 per benefit period.

After you meet the Part A deductible, you are responsible for Part A coinsurance payments of $389 per day for days 61-90 of your inpatient stay in each benefit period, and $778 per day for days 91 and beyond in each benefit period until you exhaust your 60 lifetime reserve days.

When your 60 lifetime reserve days are used up, you are responsible for all costs.

Talking With Your Parents About Long

Doesn’t medicare cover long term care and nursing home expenses?

It can be difficult to make the decision about whether you or a loved one needs to leave home. Sometimes, decisions about where to care for a family member need to be made quickly, for example, when a sudden injury requires a new care plan. Other times, a family has a while to look for the best place to care for an elderly relative.

You may have had a conversation with a loved one where they asked you not to put them in a nursing home. Many of us want to stay in our own homes. Agreeing that you will not put someone in a nursing home may close the door to the right care option for your family. The fact is that for some illnesses and for some people, professional health care in a long-term care facility is the only reasonable choice.

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How Can I Pay For Long

If you need coverage beyond 100 days of skilled nursing care, or if you need help with the cost of nursing home care, you may have other options:13

  • Medicaid: Depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid. This could help you cover some of the costs of long-term care. Medicaid coverage and eligibility requirements vary from state to state.
  • Social Security Administration programs: Some programs offered through Social Security could help cover some costs associated with long-term care for people with disabilities. Depending on your medical condition or income, you might qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income .
  • Long-term care insurance: 1 possible source of coverage for nursing home services is long-term care insurance. These are plans offered through private insurance providers. Details of coverage and costs may vary from plan to plan.

Does Medicare Provide Long Term Coverage

Youve probably thought about long-term care and nursing homes at some point in your life, but you likely put them in the back of your mind. We get it its not something most people look forward to.

But even if you or a loved one have many years before possibly moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility, its important to start thinking about how you might pay for it. Medicare, unfortunately, doesnt cover most long-term care.

Lets dive into the different types of long-term care and what your coverage may look like.

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Medicare Long Term Care Coverage

While Medicare doesnt cover the majority of long-term care costs, there are some expenses that Medicare will pay for. One expense that Medicare long term care may cover is a short stay in a skilled nursing facility. As long as you meet certain requirements, Medicare long term care will cover the costs. These requirements include:

  • You had an inpatient hospitalization admission for at least three days.
  • You checked into a Medicare-certified nursing facility within 30 days of your inpatient hospital stay.
  • If you need skilled care such as professional nursing services, physical therapy, or other types of therapy.

Medicare long term care may pay for the first 20 days in a skilled nursing facility. After that, youll need to pay $170.50 of coinsurance per day, for up to 100 days. Once you surpass 100 days, youre responsible for the cost of your care.

Another cost Medicare may cover is short-term skilled nursing care due to an illness. If a medical professional states you need to receive care in your home, Medicare may pay in-home care from nurses and therapists. Medicare may also provide services to help you maintain your life at home. Typically, Medicare limits your care to 28 hours per week. But, with your doctors recommendation, you may qualify for additional attention.

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The Appeal Of Combination Policies

Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care?

Aside from the fact that you get something for your premium no matter what, the biggest advantages of combination policies are:

  • The policy can be a good investment if you otherwise would have spent the money or kept it in a low-yield account.
  • You wont have premium hikes when you pay with a lump sum, and a policy with a limited number of payments might even guarantee the premiums will stay the same. Some owners of traditional long-term care insurance policies have seen their premiums double within the past several years as care costs have surpassed insurance companies projections. And with historically low interest rates, insurers havent made enough investment income off of premiums to pay claims.
  • Theres a money-back guarantee with some combination policies. The insurance company will return your premium if you decide you dont want the policy after a certain period of time, such as five years. Before then, you can get a percentage of the premium back.

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What Parts Of Nursing Home Care Does Medicare Cover

Medicare covers up to 100 days at a skilled nursing facility.

Medicare Part A and Part B cover skilled nursing facility stays of up to 100 days for older people who require care from people with medical skills, such as sterile bandage changes. Medicare does not otherwise cover the costs of long-term stays in nursing homes because most nursing home care is considered custodial care. However, it can cover short-term care in a skilled nursing facility if you meet the requirements. Some of the specific things covered by Medicare include:

  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Medical supplies and equipment

However, if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, its possible that the plan covers nursing home care. Likewise, Medicare supplemental insurance may cover some associated costs. If you have Medicare drug coverage or a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage, you can get coverage for prescriptions from a long-term care facility pharmacy that works with your plan.

Medicare also has a strict list of requirements you must meet to qualify, including:

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