Deciding whether to access senior care (and what type of services, like home care, assisted living, or skilled nursing care) is one thing, how to pay for it is another. Both are monumental tasks, especially for caregivers who are already under a great deal of stress. Rest easy: we’ve assembled a list of public and private options here…
- LifeBridge Benefits Plan — This private option is open to those who have life insurance policies. Through the plan, policy owners can convert their existing life insurance policy to a long term health care benefit. The policy holder is no longer responsible for the premium payment at that point, and LifeBridge will pay a monthly fee to the provider of choice. This can be the full monthly amount or it can be used as a subsidiary amount to help cover costs. One of the benefits of this plan is that a death benefit is still preserved for end of life expenses, and if the policy holder passes away before the end of the 12-30 month benefit period, the beneficiary receives the balance. Learn more about the program here (i.e., enrollment procedures, whether the proceeds are taxable, how Medicaid eligibility is affected, and more).
- Insurance — According to this chart on PayingforSeniorCare.com, families may consider these insurance options: Medicare, Medicare Savings Programs, Medigap Policies, PACE Medicare programs, health insurance, long term care insurance, life settlements, death benefit loans, the life care assurance benefit plan, accelerated death benefits, and viatical settlements. Talk to your insurance provider about these options, or contact your local Area Agency on Aging for guidance on the Medicare programs offered in your state.
- Veterans Administration — There are a number of programs and benefits available to seniors who have served our country, as well as their surviving spouses; among them, veteran’s respite care, veteran’s directed home- and community-based services, TRICARE, and the Aid & Attendance Benefit. Read more about these offerings here.
- Medicare — Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living care. This is a common myth when it comes to senior care and payment options. Medicare does cover the full cost of 20 days in a nursing home, and 80% of the costs of 80 days more. There are some Medicare benefits that will cover a portion of home health care costs if the individual meets eligibility requirements. Head to Medicare.gov to find out exactly what Medicare does and doesn’t cover.
- Medicaid — Each state has different eligibility requirements and rules, as well as their own program(s). Alabama, for example, has an Elderly and Disabled Waiver program; California has a Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver (also called an ALW). New York has several programs including one called Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance, Oregon has an Independent Choice program and a Spousal Pay program, among others. Texas has a Day Activity and Health Services program. The list is as extensive and diverse as each of our country’s 50 states. Check with your state’s Medicaid office — find it via the Eldercare locator — to learn about what programs are available, how to apply, and if you or your senior loved one are eligible to access these benefits.
- Social Security – Those receiving Social Security benefits (SSI, OASDI, etc.) can use these dollars towards paying for home care, adult day services, or residential care, however, the amount of the average monthly benefits check often does not cover the true cost of care.
- Tax Credits & Deductions — Sometimes, caregivers and seniors may qualify for federal or state tax credits and expense deductions, which can ease the burden of paying for care either at home or in a senior care community.
- Other options – Personal loans, home equity lines of credit, and reverse mortgages (essentially, senior homeowners taking a loan against their home equity) may also be used to pay for senior care.
Who can walk you through this payment maze? Besides your insurance providers, VA representatives and Area Agency on Aging contacts, elder law attorneys are extremely valuable when it comes to estate planning and developing a long term care payment plan. Learn more about elder law attorneys and the services they offer here.