Cost Of Nursing Home Care
Prior to a discussion of the financial options available to help pay for nursing home care, it is helpful to understand the costs involved. In 2020, the national, daily average cost for nursing home care for a shared room is $255. The least expensive states are located in the Southeastern U.S., the South Central region, and the Mid-West, where the daily cost is closer to $165 $200. The most expensive area of the country, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, is the Northeast and New England, where the daily cost averages in the $350 $415 range. A state-by-state breakdown of nursing home costs is available further down this page. Interesting to note is that Alzheimers care in skilled nursing homes is usually subject to the same fee structure as regular nursing home care. This differs from assisted living communities, which typically charge 20% 30% over their standard fees to care for an individual with Alzheimers.
The table below shows the high variability in nursing home care costs throughout the 50 states. The first column is sorted alphabetically and the second column is sorted by way of increasing average daily cost.
2020 Nursing Home Care Costs by State
What Types Of In
If your situation meets Medicare criteria, Medicare may cover in-home health care such as:
- Skilled nursing care
- Part-time home health aides
- Medical social services
Medicare benefits might also cover:
- Durable medical equipment
- Medical supplies
- Injectable osteoporosis drugs
If you qualify for home health care under Medicare, you generally dont have to pay any coinsurance or copayment. If you need durable medical equipment, youll typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount as coinsurance. Read more about Medicare and durable medical equipment.
Private Coverage For Nursing Home Care
It is possible to purchase long-term care insurance to help pay for nursing home care. These insurance plans pay for 5 percent of nursing home coverage in the United States.
LTC insurance can be helpful to have if you need care, but premiums tend to be expensive and out of range for many people. These premiums tend to get higher the older you get, especially if your health is on the decline. Individuals over 65 years old and who have chronic medical problems could see monthly premiums in the thousands of dollars.
The insurance company can deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
Long-term care insurance generally works this way: You pay monthly premiums, and if you have a triggering event, i.e., something that requires nursing home or long-term home health care, you start to receive insurance payouts. Those payouts can be put towards those care specific services, but the amount of those payouts will be based on your specific LTC insurance plan. They may or may not cover the full cost of care, and the payouts may only last a certain length of time.
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Could Nursing Home Care Be Right For Me
If you need a place to recuperate and get specialized care, a skilled nursing facility could be the solution. But its also a costly one.
With Medicare Part A, you can receive at least partial coverage for up to 100 days. Make sure to familiarize yourself with Medicares rules and regulations to get the care you want. If you qualify, Medicare has a tool on its website to help you locate a nursing home.
Whos Eligible For Va Nursing Home Benefits
Those eligible for VA nursing home or noninstitutional long-term care include:
- Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher.
- Veterans with a 60 percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable, or who have a rating of permanently and totally disabled.
- Veterans with a service-connected disability that is clinically determined to require nursing home care.
- Veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria.
- Other veterans, on a case-by-case basis, with priority given to those with service-connected disabilities and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.
More detailed information about eligibility for these nursing home and other extended care VA programs is available from the VAs Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care.
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Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living
- Medically necessary care
- Preventative care, such as the flu shot and laboratory tests
Medicare Advantage plans, which are commonly referred to as Medicare Part C, dont cover the costs associated with assisted living, either. However, there are thousands of Medicare Advantage plans available nationwide that are sold by private insurance companies, and each plan offers its own unique benefits with various costs.
Does Medicare Pay For Long Term Care
Aside from the inpatient costs that Part A pays for, Medicare doesnt cover long-term care. Medicare pays for long-term care for a short time under specific requirements.
Part A covers hospital inpatient care, but you may have a deductible and coinsurance expense for each benefit. Medicare stops covering the costs once you exhaust your lifetime reserve days. Meaning, youre responsible for ALL costs of long-term care.
Other programs can help with costs. For example, Medicaid aids low-income individuals or families to help with healthcare costs.
The Medicaid program is the largest payer in the country for long-term and nursing home care. Other alternatives include buying long-term care insurance.
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How Can I Get Help Applying For Va Long
You can get free assistance with any VA-related question or problem by phone or in person through one of the VAs Vet Centers, which are located in every state. You can also get assistance by contacting the Veterans Benefits Administration office nearest you. The VA also has a toll-free telephone help line at 827-1000.
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What Is Custodial Care
In the eyes of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services , custodial care is care that does not have to be performed by a skilled or licensed medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, or therapist . Custodial care often includes assistance with bathing, cleaning, cooking, dressing, hygiene, and even walking or mobilizing.
Unfortunately, many seniors in nursing homes are there for reasons of safety. They are unable to live independently due to dementia or other medical conditions, and they may not have family or loved ones who can support them.
According to the February 2019 Vital Health Statistics report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , the majority of people in nursing homes require custodial care. The percentages of people needing help are considerable:
- Bathing: 96.7%
- Transferring In or Out of Bed: 86.8%
- Walking: 92%
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What If My Home Health Care Is Ending Too Soon
If your home health care is ending, it is likely because you are getting better and no longer need it. But that is not always the case and you may feel that your home health care coverage is ending prematurely. If so, you can file a fast appeal to continue home health care.
When you receive your NOMNC, it will let you know when your services are ending and instructions on how to file for a fast appeal. A Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization will go over your appeal, discuss your condition with your doctor, and notify you of their decision within three days after the end date on the NOMNC.Medicare.gov, Medicare & Home Health Care, Accessed December 15, 2021
Medicare Advantage May Offer More Comprehensive Coverage
Private insurance companies run Medicare Advantage. Those companies are regulated by Medicare and must provide the same basic level of coverage as Original Medicare. However, they also offer additional coverage known as supplemental health care benefits.
These benefits can be used to cover the cost of health care or medical equipment that could reduce the risk of injury, reduce the impact of lost mobility or injury or help a person maintain their health and independence.
Medicare Advantage covers many services that are excluded from original Medicare. Individual insurers are permitted to exercise discretion when deciding what services to offer under supplemental benefits, so Medicare Advantage customers should contact their insurers to discuss their options before deciding on a care plan.
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Does Medicare Pay For Nursing Homes
Of course, Medicare covers medical services in these settings. But it does not pay for a stay in any long-term care facilities or the cost of any custodial care , except for very limited circumstances when a person receives home health services through a Medicare-approved agency.
Effects Of The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 made a number of changes to the Medicare program. Several provisions of the law were designed to reduce the cost of Medicare. The most substantial provisions slowed the growth rate of payments to hospitals and skilled nursing facilities under Parts A of Medicare, through a variety of methods .
PPACA also slightly reduced annual increases in payments to physicians and to hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of low-income patients. Along with other minor adjustments, these changes reduced Medicare’s projected cost over the next decade by $455 billion.
Additionally, the PPACA created the Independent Payment Advisory Board , which was empowered to submit legislative proposals to reduce the cost of Medicare if the program’s per-capita spending grows faster than per-capita GDP plus one percent. The IPAB was never formed and was formally repealed by the Balanced Budget Act of 2018.
Meanwhile, Medicare Part B and D premiums were restructured in ways that reduced costs for most people while raising contributions from the wealthiest people with Medicare. The law also expanded coverage of or eliminated co-pays for some preventive services.
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Does Medicare Cover In
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, someone turning 65 today has about a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care in the future. And with over 75% of Americans 50 and older saying theyd like to live in their current community as long as possible, more and more families are beginning to consider in-home care for their aging loved ones.
In-home care can be an appealing option for many seniors and their families because it enables them to age in place while still receiving the care and support they need. But, in-home care can be expensive. As of 2020, the national average cost of in-home care ranges from $25-$26 per hour. The expense can add up quickly, and many families seek outside sources of financial assistance to pay for in-home care.
In many cases, the first place seniors turn is Medicare. While Medicare covers in-home care services in some circumstances, it doesnt offer assistance for everyone and all types of home care. If youre unsure if Medicare will cover in-home care for yourself or a loved one, this guide is for you.
Does Medicare Cover In-Home Care?
Money Follows The Person Program
The MFP Program provides financial assistance to the states to help them transition individuals who live in nursing homes from the nursing home back into their communities. While this program does not provide direct financial and care assistance to individuals, it does expand the options available to nursing home residents. This program is currently available in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Read more about the MFP Program here.
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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
When Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care
To understand what Medicare covers in a nursing home, its sometimes best to know what they dont cover. Medicare doesnt cover care in a nursing home when a person needs custodial care only. Custodial care includes the following services:
- going to the bathroom
As a general rule, if a person needs care that doesnt require a degree to provide, Medicare doesnt cover the service.
Now lets look at what Medicare does cover.
requirements for medicare to cover CARE in a nursing home
Medicare does cover skilled nursing care in a nursing home facility, but you have to meet several requirements. These include:
- You must have Medicare Part A and have days left in your benefit period.
- You must have first had a qualifying hospital stay.
- Your doctor must determine you require daily, skilled nursing care.
- You must receive the care at a skilled nursing facility.
- The facility where you receive your services must be Medicare-certified.
- You need skilled services for a hospital-related medical condition or a condition that started while you were in a skilled nursing facility getting help for the original, hospital-related medical condition.
Its also important to note this care is for a short-term basis, not for long-term care.
Medicare usually only covers short-term skilled nursing care in a nursing home. Keep reading for a breakdown of what Medicare may cover related to nursing homes.
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Medicare Coverage By Part
- any age and have a disability
- any age and have end stage renal disease
However, there are also some specific Medicare plans that people with dementia may be eligible for. In these cases, a diagnosis of dementia may be required:
- Special needs plans :SNPs are a special group of Advantage plans that specifically address the needs of people with specific health conditions, including dementia. Coordination of care is also often included.
- Chronic care management services : If you have dementia and at least one more chronic condition, you may be eligible for CCMR. CCMR includes development of a care plan, coordination of care and medications, and 24/7 access to a qualified healthcare professional for health needs.
Dementia happens when you lose cognitive abilities like memory, thinking, and decision-making. This can significantly impact social function and activities of daily living. For example, a person with dementia may have difficulty:
- recalling people, old memories, or directions
- carrying out daily tasks independently
- communicating or finding the right words
- solving problems
- paying attention
- controlling their emotions
There isnt just one type of dementia. There are actually several types, each with different characteristics. They include:
When Does Medicare Not Cover In
In most cases, Medicare doesnt cover these types of in-home health care.
- Home health aides, when the only care you need is custodial. That means you need help bathing, dressing, and/or using the bathroom.
- In-home meals
- Round-the-clock care
- Homemaker services, like cleaning, laundry, and shopping. If these services arent in your care plan, and theyre the only care you need, theyre generally not covered.
Its important to know that just because your doctor might recommend home health care, Medicare doesnt automatically cover it. It depends on your situation.
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How Much Does Medicare Cover For Nursing Homes
Original Medicare nursing home coverage is intended for rehabilitation, not long-term care. It only covers a portion of nursing home expenses for a maximum of 100 days. Medicare calculates nursing home rates by time period, so your out-of-pocket cost changes over time. Below is a breakdown of what you’ll pay per benefit period during those 100 days:
- Days 1-20: $0
- Days 21-100: $185.50 per day coinsurance
- Days 101 and beyond: All expenses
FYI: If you’re new to Medicare or just want to learn more about the program, head to our 2022 Medicare guide. It covers everything you need to know about coverage and enrolling, and it answers the most frequently asked Medicare questions.