Paying for senior care can come from either public/government assistance or through private funding. More information about each source is listed below.
Public / Government Assistance
Medicaid is a federally and state funded program, administered collaboratively. Much of the funding comes from federal funds; however, each state has some discretion in its individual eligibility requirements, rules and regulations. Medicaid is intended for people who can’t afford medical or care expenses. In most states, Medicaid can be used to pay for assisted living communities or in-home care and in all states, Medicaid can be used for long-term nursing home care. Typically, assisted living options are limited since not all facilities accept Medicaid and those that do, often provide a “share” living arrangement. The primary criterion for utilizing Medicaid is a low income and high medical/care expenses.
Married couples can qualify for Medicaid . If there is a healthy spouse, some of the couple’s assets can remain (including home or car), but other sources of income will likely become depleted.
For more information about each state’s own guidelines, and for additional information:
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE: www.medicare.gov
- Visit the Medicare and Medicaid Services website www.cms.hhs.gov
Medicare is a national social insurance that all Americans receive aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. Younger people with disabilities can also enroll in Medicare without paying premiums. Medicare usually covers about half of the health care charges for those enrolled. Typical costs are covered for short-term rehabilitation stays at nursing homes or for therapy services, prescribed by a doctor. Medicare does not typically cover long term care stays, including assisted living facilities or long term care at a nursing home. All Medicare benefits are subject to medical necessity.
For more information about Medicare:
Veterans Aid and Military Benefits
In order to receive benefits for Veterans of war and their spouses, there are very specific requirements that need to be met, including a fixed and lower income (medical and care expenses must be greater than income), to qualify for these benefits. Other requirements include providing specific service dates, and proof of being honorably discharged, and if the disabilities are service related.
To apply for VA health care or determine eligibility:
- Call (877) 222-VETS: Health Benefits Service Center
- Contact your local Veterans Benefits Office or Medical Facility
- Visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website
Life Insurance Policy Conversion
A Life insurance policy can be cashed out rather than letting a policy lapse or be surrendered. Virtually any type of life insurance policy (Term, Universal, Whole and Group) can be converted into a Long Term Care Benefit Plan, although there are generally certain requirements (including death benefit value).
For more information about Life Insurance policy conversions, you should contact your life insurance company.
Long Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies generally covers home care, assisted living, adult daycare, respite care, hospice care, nursing home and Alzheimer’s facilities. This type of plan helps pay for costs not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. Most companies will not insure people with preexisting conditions; it’s easier to buy LTCI before health issues arise.
Reverse mortgages, also called a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is a type of home loan for homeowners over the age of 62. Reverse mortgages allow seniors to use the equity in their homes now, and defer payment of the loan until they die, sell, or move out of the home. Borrowers can receive the equity in their home in either a lump sum payment or in monthly installments. When one secures a reverse mortgage, the borrower is no longer required to make mortgage payments, but is still responsible for property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. A disadvantage of a reverse mortgage are the relatively high closing costs and they are sometimes considered to be difficult for consumers to understand.
For more information about reverse mortgages: