Financial Assistance When Considering Assisted Living Facilities
Understanding Available Financial Assistance Programs for Assisted Living and Long Term Care
Not all aging seniors have prepared their finances nor have a plan for long-term care. Also, there are low income seniors who are unable to pay the long term care. Health care setbacks can occur at anytime, leaving consumers strapped for resources. Understanding financial obligations and exploring assistance programs in your area when it comes to assisted living facilities is critical. Medicare does not pay for assisted living. Caregivers and senior citizens should take the time to learn health care rights and options.
Below are some common terms that are important to planning for long term care. There are a few government subsidies are available to help the senior citizens but having a general understanding of services offered and how to qualify can help caregivers plan accordingly. Although the amount of care services maybe limited and only pays for a small amount of care, Silver Census wants to educate you of the funds available.
The following government agencies are providing financial assistance for assisted living facilities and senior care living:
• Medicare. Medicare Part A and B offer coverage for comprehensive ongoing long-term care. For example, Medicare A (hospital insurance) may cover costs for the first 100 days after hospitalization for an acute illness or injury for a semiprivate room, meals, nursing and rehab services, medications, and medical supplies in a skilled nursing facility with a goal for the patient to go home. Part A requires recent hospitalization and the patient must meet certain qualifications to warrant admission to a skilled nursing and rehab center. Eighty percent is covered for the first 20 days and the rest will be covered at decreasing rates. A private room nor services in an assisted living residence, is not under its coverage. On the other hand, Medicare Part B (medical insurance) offers reimbursement for covered services you receive from a physician.
Medicare Part A covers short term intermittent care at home should the doctor prescribe services and the patient qualifies. What caregivers need to understand is that Medicare only covers short term intermittent care with a skilled nurse and/or physical therapy /occupational therapy at home based on need and arranging for personal care is not a covered service. Assistance with daily living is considered private pay and is an hourly service. Paying for private care at home is a great alternative to assisted living.
Should you need more information, you can go to Medicare.gov website. The section Ask Medicare is a great tool kit provided to caregivers. This website is designed to support and assist caregiver, like you. It has wide range helpful information for the nearly 66 million Americans who provide help to seniors, chronically ill, or disabled family or friend.
• Medicaid. Medicaid provides federal health-care assistance to low-income Americans. The eligible seniors under the Medicaid coverage is able to pay for room, board, nursing care, and social activities in nursing homes. There are many state, but not all, cover some assisted living services under their Medicaid programs. However, eligibility requirement and fund provided differ from state to state. In some states, Medicaid pays only for care services in assisted living while other states it covers room and board. As of 2013, there are 44 states that Medicaid offers some level of assistance for individuals in assisted living or other non-nursing home, and residential care.
• HUD and Veterans Subsidies. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers subsidies to seniors with annual incomes under $12,000. HUD may provide provide rent subsidies that can help pay for the room-and-board portion of both independent living and assisted living environments to eligible seniors. On the other hand, the Department of Veterans Affairs also provides some skilled and intermediate-level care to veterans in its own residences if it passes the requirements. Check out the VA’s benefits fact sheets for more information.
• Life Care Funding Group (LCFG). It is not a government agency but they assists people in need of funds to cover the costs of senior housing and long term care. What they do is convert the life insurance policy benefit into a long term care benefit to cover the costs of skilled nursing home care, assisted living, home health care, and hospice.
Paying for a long term care is expensive. It is good to plan ahead if you have the resources and while you are young. Many of the government programs have needs tests and may require liquidating assets. Take it into consideration and include it in your planning. Since getting old is inevitable, it helps when we plan ahead.