Today, I’ll address a common misconception that I hear every week. Many people are under the mistaken belief that Medicare will cover the long term care costs of illnesses like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Hopefully, this article will clear things up a bit.
A statement on the Medicare.gov website clarifies what Medicare will pay for.
“Generally, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. Medicare pays only for medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care. However, you must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care. Most long-term care is to assist people with support services such as activities of daily living like dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care called “custodial care“. Custodial care (non-skilled care) is care that helps you with activities of daily living. It may also include care that most people do for themselves, for example, diabetes monitoring. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (formerly Medicare + Choice) may offer limited skilled nursing facility and home care (skilled care) coverage if the care is medically necessary.”
How does Medicaid cover long term care costs?
Fortunately, there is a government program that will help pay for long term care costs – Medicaid. Unfortunately, this program is unfairly discriminatory and will only pay for care for individuals who have less than $1,500 to $2,000 in assets (and in about 22 states, the program will only cover individuals who fall below a certain income threshold). All other individuals wanting help from Medicaid must impoverish themselves paying for their own elder-care services first, before Medicaid will help them.
Planning for the final years of life and dovetailing government programs, care provider systems and funding sources can be invaluable yet complicated. This area of planning can be one of the most challenging endeavors undertaken by anyone attempting to help seniors in this final phase of life.
The National Care Planning Council has introduced a new long term care planning tool called “Care Resource Planning“. It is impossible to predict what your future elder-care needs will be. You cannot determine in advance if you will need home care, assisted living or even nursing home care, but you can have a plan in place that will provide the financial, legal and family support as well as protecting your assets, no matter what happens. You can get more resources and information about this at here.