How people pay for long-term care—whether
delivered at home or in a hospital, assisted living facility, or
nursing home—depends on their financial situation and the kinds of
services they use. Often, they rely on a variety of payment
sources, including personal funds, government programs, and
private financing options.
Personal Funds (Out-of-Pocket Expenses)
At first, many older adults pay for care
in part with their own money. They may use personal savings, a
pension or other retirement fund, income from stocks and bonds, or
proceeds from the sale of a home.
Most home-based care is paid for using personal funds ("out of pocket"). Initially, family and friends often provide personal care and other services, such as transportation, for free. But as a person's needs increase, paid services may be needed.
Many older adults also pay out-of-pocket to participate in adult day service programs, meals, and other community-based services provided by local governments and nonprofit groups. These services help them remain in their homes.
Professional care provided in assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities is almost always paid for out of pocket, though, in some states, Medicaid (see below) may pay some costs for people who meet financial and health requirements.
Older adults may be eligible for some government healthcare benefits. Caregivers can help by learning more about possible sources of financial help and assisting older adults in applying for aid as appropriate. The Internet can be a helpful tool in this search. Several federal and state programs provide help with healthcare-related costs.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (CMS) offers several programs. Over time, the benefits
and eligibility requirements of these programs can change, and
some benefits differ from State to State. Check with CMS or the
individual programs directly for the most recent information.
Medicare is a Federal Government health
insurance program that pays some medical costs for people age 65
and older, and for all people with late-stage kidney failure. It
also pays some medical costs for those who have gotten Social
Security Disability Income (discussed later) for 24 months. It
does not cover ongoing personal care at home, assisted living, or
long-term care. Here are brief descriptions of what Medicare will
Medicare Part A:
Hospital costs after you pay a certain amount, called the "deductible"
Short stays in a nursing home to get care for a hospital-related medical condition
Hospice care in the last 6 months of life
Medicare Part B:
Part of the costs for doctor's services, outpatient care, and other medical services
that Part A does not cover
Some preventive services, such as flu shots and diabetes screening
Medicare Part D:
Some medication costs
Call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227, TTY:
1-877-486-2048 to find out what costs Medicare will cover for your
situation, or visit the Medicare website for more information.
Some people may qualify for Medicaid, a
combined Federal and State program for low-income people and
families. This program covers the costs of medical care and some
types of long-term care for people who have limited income and
meet other eligibility requirements. Who is eligible and what
services are covered vary from State to State.
To learn more about Medicaid, call 1-877-267-2323, TTY: 1-866-226-1819, or visit the Medicaid website. Or, contact your State health department. For a State-by-State list, visit Medicaid's State Overviews page.
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
PACE provides community-based services to people who are frail elderly who qualify for nursing facility placement. PACE uses a comprehensive care approach, providing an array of services for a capitated monthly fee that is below the cost of comparable nursing facility care.
The Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides comprehensive medical and social services to certain frail, community-dwelling elderly individuals, most of whom are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
The PACE Model of Care is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible.
Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®) serve individuals who are age 55 or older, certified by their state to need nursing home care, able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment, and live in a PACE service area.
While all PACE participants must be certified to need nursing home care to enroll in PACE, only about 7 percent of PACE participants nationally reside in a nursing home. If a PACE enrollee needs nursing home care, the PACE program pays for it and continues to coordinate the enrollee's care.
Delivering all needed medical and supportive services, a PACE program provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their home for as long as possible. Services include the following:
adult day care that offers nursing; physical, occupational and recreational therapies;
meals; nutritional counseling; social work and personal care;
medical care provided by a PACE physician familiar with the history, needs and preferences of each participant;
home health care and personal care;
all necessary prescription drugs;
medical specialties, such as audiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry and speech therapy;
respite care; and
hospital and nursing home care when necessary.
To find out more about
PACE, call 1-877-267-2323, or visit the
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
State Health Insurance
Assistance Program is a national program offered in each State
that provides counseling and assistance to people and their
families on Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare supplemental
insurance (Medigap) matters.
To contact a SHIP counselor in your State, visit the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center website.
Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) may provide long-term care or at-home care for some veterans.
If your family member or relative is eligible for veterans’
benefits, check with the VA or get in touch with the VA medical
center nearest you. There could be a waiting list for VA nursing
To learn more about VA healthcare benefits, call 1-877-222-8387, or visit the Veterans Health Administration or the Veterans Affairs Caregiver Support page. You can also find more information at Geriatrics and Extended Care: Paying for Long-Term Care.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
This type of Social Security is for people
younger than age 65 who are disabled according to the Social
Security Administration's definition.
For a person to qualify for Social Security Disability Income, he or she must be able to show that:
The person is unable to work
The condition will last at least a year
The condition is expected to result in death
Social Security has "compassionate allowances" to help people with Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and certain other serious medical conditions get disability benefits more quickly.
To find out more about Social Security Disability Income, call 1-800-772-1213, TTY: 1-800-325-0778, or visit the Social Security Administration.
National Council on Aging (NCOA)
The National Council on Aging, a private group, has a free service called BenefitsCheckUp®. This service can help you find Federal and State benefit programs that may help your family. After providing some general information about the person who needs care, you can see a list of possible benefit programs to explore. These programs can help pay for prescription drugs, heating bills, housing, meal programs, and legal services. You don’t have to give a name, address, or Social Security number to use this service.
Elder Options of Texas
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DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.