Most senior citizens are surprised to learn that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Medicare only pays for nursing home care under certain conditions and only for a limited number of days. Currently, Medicare will cover skilled care in a skilled nursing facility for (up to) the first 20 days, and a portion of the cost for (up to) the next 80 days if admission follows (at least) a three-day hospital stay and the individual needs skilled care. Medicare provides no coverage for “custodial” care, either at home or in a nursing facility. Care is considered custodial when the patient’s condition is stable, the patient’s care needs have not changed over a period of time, and the patient’s care needs are not expected to change.

Upon learning that Medicare will not cover long-term care costs, many seniors wonder how they will pay for long-term care. There are four ways to pay for long-term care:

nursing home
  1. Private Pay – an individual will use their own income and assets to pay for long-term care. However, at an average daily rate of $180.00 – $190.00 dollars a day, many individuals will deplete their assets at a rapid rate.
  2. Long-term care insurance – is private insurance, which provides some protection against the potentially high costs of long-term care. Specific benefits of long-term care insurance policies vary based on cost and insurer.
  3. Medicaid – is a joint federal/state program that pays for health care, including long-term care, for people with limited income and assets. To receive Medicaid benefits you must meet federal and state eligibility guidelines for income and assets. The guidelines are very strict and currently require 5 years of financial records to review.
  4. VA – if you are a Veteran or a dependant of a Veteran you may be entitled to some assistance with long-term care costs through the Veterans Administration. However, these benefits may be limited and may not cover all of your long-term care costs.

If you or a loved one has any questions about long-term care and nursing home costs, please call your hometown law office of Townes & Woods, P.C. at 631-4019.

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