PAYING FOR NURSING HOME COSTS: A GUIDE TO MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND MORE Navigating the myriad of ways to pay for nursing home care can be overwhelming. However, with a clear understanding of nursing home costs and the options available, it becomes manageable.
Nursing home costs nationwide can be daunting. In 2021, a semi-private room in a nursing home averaged $7,908 per month, with private rooms at $9,034. Even assisted living facilities, which offer a lesser level of care than nursing homes, can run upwards of $4,500 a month. Most people who enter nursing homes start by paying for their care out-of-pocket by using their savings or accessing equity from large assets like real estate. It's clear that understanding these costs is crucial for anyone considering nursing home care.
Private pay remains a choice for those who either don’t qualify for Medicaid or prefer not to use it. This method involves tapping into personal assets or savings to pay for nursing home care. It provides more flexibility in terms of choosing the facility or level of care. However, it can quickly deplete one's assets.
Medicare is a federal program and primarily focuses on medical care, not long-term care. Medicare will not pay for long-term care in a nursing home facility. It will pay for a limited amount of time for skilled nursing care following a hospital stay but not for extended nursing home stays. Seniors also still need Medicare coverage for hospital care, doctor services and medical supplies while living in the nursing home. Understanding the specifics of what Medicare covers can help families plan better.
Medicaid is a popular option for many seniors needing nursing home care. It caters to those with limited income and assets. It is the primary payer for long-term care coverage nationwide.
Long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term care costs that Medicare and private health insurance don’t cover. This might include nursing home care, assisted living, or home care. However, the coverage depends on the policy details, and premiums can be high. In addition, the older one is, the harder it is to be considered insurable.
If long-term care insurance is an option, be sure to start planning early. Insurance companies are known to reject more applicants the older they get. Reviewing insurance plans each year to ensure that the policy still meets anticipated needs is essential. Make changes if necessary, and never stop paying the premiums so that the insurance does not lapse.
For veterans, VA nursing homes can be an option. These facilities are dedicated to providing care to veterans and may be more affordable than private facilities.
The decision often comes down to personal finances, care needs and eligibility. Understanding the differences between these payment methods can lead to more informed choices. As the demand for senior care services grows, it's predicted that the cost of nursing home care will continue to rise. Planning ahead becomes even more essential.
Consulting with an elder law attorney can provide invaluable insights and assistance in navigating the complexities of nursing home costs and payment options.
Planning ahead is crucial. The more you know, the better decisions you can make for yourself or your loved ones.
PAYING FOR NURSING HOME COSTS: A GUIDE TO MEDICARE, MEDICAID AND MORE
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