- Medicare: Many people assume that Medicare will pay for nursing home care when the truth is Medicare provides very limited coverage for skilled nursing care. It is available only if you meet certain very strict requirements, and it only covers costs for a short period of time – usually a maximum of 100 days of long-term care.
- Long-term Care Insurance: If your loved one has a policy it may cover most or even all of his or her nursing home expenses – at least for a time. It’s important to review the policy as soon as you suspect a nursing home stay may be necessary. Remember, though, that in order to qualify for long-term care coverage, you have to be healthy. So, once it’s clear that a nursing home is necessary, it’s probably too late to get long-term care insurance.
- Children and Loved Ones: There is no reason for you to bear the responsibility for your parent’s nursing home bills, but frequently nursing home agreements attempt to make a resident’s children or other loved ones responsible for a resident’s bills. Check the agreement and do not sign anything you don’t understand. Rather than take the nursing home’s word for it, get guidance from a qualified Elder Law Attorney.
- Reverse Mortgage: When savings and income are not enough to cover the entire bill for long-term care, reverse mortgages have become an increasingly popular option. Homeowners can draw on the equity in their home, and not have to worry about the loan coming due as long as they reside in the home. However, for those who want to pass their homes on to their heirs, this is probably not a good choice.
- Medicaid: Medicaid (in California, it’s called Medi-Cal) is the most popular option for the American middle class and contrary to popular belief, you do not have to impoverish yourself or your family in order to qualify. Depending on their income and assets, your loved one may be able to qualify for Medi-Cal.
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