Long Term Care Benefits
Medicare is the primary medical care insurance for a large number of seniors. Many are shocked to discover that Original Medicare , also called Traditional Medicare, does not cover costs for most types of long term care, including Alzheimers and dementia care. When it does pay, it is only in a very limited capacity. While Traditional Medicare is not a long term care solution, there are benefits for seniors with recoverable conditions on a short term basis. Also, as mentioned previously, some Medicare Advantage Plans now offer some home and community based long term care benefits under specific circumstances.
Skilled Nursing FacilitiesMedicare will pay for 100% of the cost of care up to 20 days at a skilled nursing facility and approximately 80% of the cost up to 80 more days. The care must be for recovery following an inpatient hospital stay.
Assisted Living CommunitiesMedicare does not cover any cost of assisted living. It will pay for most medical costs incurred while the senior is in assisted living, but will pay nothing toward custodial care or the room and board cost of assisted living. Some Medicare Advantage plans may pay for personal care assistance for persons residing in assisted living or memory care, but will not contribute towards the cost of room and board.
Adult Day CareOriginal Medicare does not pay for adult day care services, but some Medicare Advantage plans may cover the cost.
When Are Home Health Aides And Other Home Care Services Not Covered By Medicare
Medicare will not pay for services of a home health aide or certified nursing assistant unless you provide the following:
- Part-time or long-term personal care by home health aides such as bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, and other activities of daily living. If this is the only care you need then you will likely pay privately unless you have * long term care insurance.
- Homemaker services such as cleaning, laundry, shopping and preparing meals.
- Full-time nursing care by a licensed nurse
**Medicare MAY cover a home health aide if you need the services of a physical or occupational therapist 2-3 time a week. This visit is approximately 45 min-1 hr and is solely for the purpose of assisting you with bathing and dressing.
If you or your elderly love one is not ill, but need help with day to day activities, you will have to hire a home health aide privately. Day to day activities include meal prep, bathing, ambulating, dressing, transferring, bathroom activities and feeding.
What Does Home Health Care Include
Many people require medical assistance after the age of 65. Home health care includes medical care services in your home that you receive for illness or injury.
Home health care includes services such as intermittent skilled nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. Home health care is typically carried out by licensed therapists, nurses, or home health aides who work for hospitals, home health agencies, or public health departments licensed by the state.
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Option : Veterans Benefits
If youre an eligible veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs has programs that may help pay for home health care. Veterans benefits may cover:
- Nursing care
- Physical, speech and occupational therapy
- Services from a social worker
- Home safety evaluation
The cost of care varies, and there may be copays in some situations. Contact your VA social worker or case manager for information about the services available in your area.
Using A Reverse Mortgage To Pay For Home Care
A reverse mortgage loan allows senior homeowners with substantial home equity to receive cash by borrowing against the value of their homes. The proceeds can be used to pay for home care, fund home modifications for aging in place, and even purchase long-term care insurance. Reverse mortgages become due when the borrower sells the home, moves from the home or passes away.
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What Are The Benefits Of Home Health Care
For many families with aging members, home health care is a beneficial option that assists the family, while allowing seniors to stay in their homes and communities. If you are caring for an aging parent or another senior member of the family, you may find home health services very helpful.
Firstly, your loved one will always have a caring companionship and assistance when you are not able to physically be there for them. Also, home health care will provide your loved one with access to skilled nursing care at home and ensure that their medical needs are met. They will also have support with medication management and assistance with diet and nutrition.
Finally, home health care is an affordable alternative to hospital or facility care according to the National Association of Home Care, the average cost of home health care is $133 dollars per day, while the average cost of care from a skilled nursing facility is $544 dollars per day.
Where To Get Help
The Medicare handbook is sent to everyone, regardless of how youre getting services, Fassieux says.
Look for a copy in the mail every fall that youre signed up for Medicare. Inside, youll find a section about home health care services.
Free one-on-one help is also available in every state and U.S. territory through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program . Youll find contact info for your local office in the Medicare handbook or call 1-800-MEDICARE /TTY: 1-877-486-2048.
The bottom line? Medicare doesnt cover everything, Fassieux says. Youve got to have a good plan for long-term care. Build your finances around the knowledge that ultimately there will be out-of-pocket costs.
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Medicare Part D Coverage
Part D refers to the prescription drug coverage portion of Medicare and each plan has its own set of covered drugs. Additionally, each drug is placed in a designated tier within that plan, which ultimately determines the copayment and/or coinsurance cost of the drug.
To find out the specific medications your plan covers, check with your Medicare provider or read through your individual plan.
Alternatively, if youre taking a particular drug and want to find a Medicare plan offering the best benefits possible for that specific medication, Medicare.gov has a Medicare Plan Finder on its website that helps you locate options to consider.
Part D refers to the prescription drug coverage portion of Medicare and each plan has its own set of covered drugs.
What Is Custodial Care Vs Skilled Nursing Care
Nursing homes mostly offer custodial care. You receive help with daily activities, such as bathing, eating, and dressing. Activities of Daily Living is the term used in the industry to refer to such activities, and help with ADLs can be provided by informal caregivers, such as family and friends, or formal caregivers who are associated with a formal service system, like a home health agency. Help with ADLs is not provided by doctors and nurses.
Medicare does not cover custodial care. But Medicare Part A will cover medically necessary care that requires skilled nursing care or therapy. You must receive it at one of the over 15,000 Medicare-certified nursing facilities in the U.S.2A beneficiary can also receive skilled nursing care or therapy at home, as home health care, discussed later.
A skilled nursing facility offers more medical services than a traditional nursing home or assisted living facility. A facility may provide both skilled nursing care and custodial care. You will receive care from a qualified technician or health professional. For example, a registered nurse may inject medicine into your body intravenously.
- Physical, occupational or speech therapy
- Medications, supplies, and equipment
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How Do I Qualify For Medicare Home Health Care
Medicare has several requirements to cover home health aide services and other home health care:
- Your doctor must write a formal treatment plan specifying the home health services you need and certifying that you need the services to improve or maintain your condition. This is usually done in consultation with the home health agency that will be treating you.
- You must be certified by your doctor as homebound, which means you are unable to leave home without assistance or special transportation. Medicare may consider you homebound if leaving the house requires considerable and taxing effort.
- Your doctor must monitor the services you receive at home.
- Your home health agency must be approved by Medicare.
If you meet all of the above requirements, Medicare may cover part-time, intermittent home health aide services for up to 21 days. Medicare generally covers fewer than seven days a week of home health aide visits, and fewer than eight hours of care per visit.
If you need full-time, daily home health care, Medicare Part A and Part B might not cover it. The Medicare home health care benefit is only for intermittent, part-time services for less than 21 days. A Medicare Advantage plan might cover some home health care as described later in this article.
Medicare Advantage And Medigap
Medicare Advantage was originally named Medicare+Choice and although it was renamed in 2003, its still often referred to as Medicare Part C. Coverage by Part C is a replacement for both Parts A and B , and its usually less expensive for the member. The potentially lower costs are somewhat balanced by the added complexities of Part C coverage.
Members of a Medicare Advantage Plan must be provided with the same coverage as Parts A and B, at a minimum, but there may be additional rules in place. For example, services may be limited to particular settings, and the rules for coverage may be different based on the members health conditions. As these plans are offered by private insurance companies, they can differ greatly based on location and may not be accepting new members at any given time.
Medigap is also referred to as Medicare Supplement coverage. As the name suggests, this type of coverage is intended to fill the gaps in, or be a supplement to, Original Medicare . Federal and state regulations set the framework for Medigap plans, but theyre sold by private insurance companies.
One of the requirements is that plans are standardized across all insurance providers in a particular state, which makes it much easier to compare costs. Medigap plans dont provide prescription drug coverage similar to Part D as they did before 2006, and they cant be used if youre enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
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What Kind Of Home Care Services Are Covered Under Medicare And Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid-funded home care services are usually designed to be a short-term measure rather than a long-term solution for beneficiaries who require support while recovering from a serious illness or injury.
There are strict rules related to the types of home care services that can be provided through government-funded programs. For example, Medicare will not pay for home delivered meals or in-home meal preparation, around-the-clock home care, or personal care services such as assistance with bathing, dressing or toileting when this is the only type of support required by the client.
Medicaid and Medicare will not cover homemaker services including assisting clients with personal shopping or errands, doing laundry or cleaning, or providing companionship when no other care is required.
Qualifying for government-funded home care services can be difficult, as clients must be under the care of a physician who agrees to create an ongoing care plan that specifically includes home care. Clients must also be medically-certified as requiring intermittent skilled nursing care and/or time-limited in-home therapy services that are designed to help the client improve within a reasonable amount of time. In most states, clients must also be designated as homebound by a medical doctor in order to be eligible for government-funded home care through Medicare or Medicaid.
Who Can Receive Home Care Covered By Medicare
Individuals must have coverage through Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B and meet the following four criteria as set forth by Medicare.gov:
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Medicare Coverage Of In
In-home health care may be covered if its medically necessary. It must also be part-time or intermittent, which rules out full-time and long-term care in the home. Home health services such as skilled nursing care, home health aide services, physical and occupational therapies and medical social services are covered by Part A and/or Part B.
Medicare doesnt cover non-medical care and services provided in the home, including meal deliveries. Homemaker services and personal care, such as help with chores and assistance with the activities of daily living, may be covered only when provided alongside other medically necessary care.
Does Medicare Cover Unskilled Home Care Services
Medicare will not pay for unskilled home care if those are the only services needed. Personal home care services or homemaker services will only be covered if they are part of the skilled services detailed in the care plan. Medicare does not cover around-the-clock home care of any kind or meals delivered to the home.
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What Is Medicare Exactly
Let’s admit it: Medicare is pretty confusing to the average person, so it’s easy to fall prey to the myth that it will cover all your health costs when you turn 65.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for those over the age of 65, as well as for certain people of any age with disabilities or people who have permanent kidney failure that requires dialysis or a transplant.
Different parts of Medicare cover different things. For instance, Medicare Part A covers such services as inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, some home health care in a skilled nursing facility. Medicare Part B, on the other hand, covers doctors’ services, outpatient care, preventative services such as check-ups and mammograms and medical supplies. Medicare Part D helps with the costs of prescription drugs and vaccines.
Although it sounds relatively straightforward, it isn’t. Some people get Medicare automatically, but others have to sign up themselvesespecially those approaching or turning age 65 who are not receiving Social Security.
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But wait: There’s more. Once you’ve signed up, you need to choose between Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan . You can also choose additional coverage such as Medicare drug coverage or Medicare Supplement Insurance .
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Va Pension Benefits Can Offset Home Care Costs
VA pensions are a source of funding that can help cover the costs of home care for veterans and their surviving spouses. In addition to the basic Veterans Pension, improved pensions increase the monetary benefits available to veterans and surviving spouses whose needs require a higher level of care.
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Eligibility for VA Pensions can be complex, but the basic requirements include 90 days of active duty service and any character of discharge other than dishonorable. Since pensions are need-based, applicants must meet certain income and asset limits as well.
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What Does Medicare Cover Not Everything You Need
The reality is that Medicare won’t pay for dental, vision, long-term care, or many other medical services that are crucial in retirement. Here’s how to plan now for your future health needs, now.
Consider this: As of 2020, the average couple, at age 65, with median prescription drug expenses, would have needed to save $265,000 total to have a 90% chance of having enough for health care expenses in retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That is, they’d have to have pre-saved about $13K for every year of their life after age 65all before turning 65.
And that’s just folks with a medium amount of prescription drug expenses according to AARP, if an older person were taking an average of 4.5 prescription medications regularly, the total cost would top out at $26,000 annually. And that was based on data from back in 2015 prices have only climbed since then.
Yet many people approaching retirement live under the myth that Medicare, the federal health insurance program, will cover all their health needs as they age. But the reality is that Medicare, while a blessing to many, won’t pay for long-term care, services like vision and dental, home health care, or other medical services that can be crucial in retirement.
But don’t fret: There are strategies you can set in place now to make sure you are in good financial shape to maintain your physical and mental shape as you age.
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Qualifying For Home Health Coverage
To be eligible for Medicare home health benefits, you must meet all of these conditions:
- You are homebound. That means you are unable to leave home without considerable effort or without the aid of another person or a device such as a wheelchair or a walker.
- You have been certified by a doctor, or by a medical professional who works directly with a doctor , as being in need of intermittent occupational therapy, physical therapy, skilled nursing care and/or speech-language therapy.
- That certificationarises from a documented, face-to-face encounter with the medical professional no more than 90 days before or 30 days after the start of home health care.
- You are under a plan of care that a doctor established and reviews regularly. The plan should include what services you need and how often, who will provide them, what supplies are required and what results the doctor expects.
- Medicare has approved the home health agency caring for you.
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