Nursing home expenses can be very high. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the average cost of a nursing home in the state can exceed $5,000 per month. Some nursing homes, including those that provide the type of specialized round-the-clock care needed by dementia patients, can cost significantly more money than average. If you do not have a plan in place to cover the costs of these expenses, it can quickly become impossible to pay the bill.
Creating a plan to cover the costs of nursing home expenses can be complicated. A Blue Ash nursing home lawyer with experience in elder law issues can help you to understand your options and make informed steps to protect your assets. Zimmer Law Firm assists many clients in exploring options for nursing home cost coverage. Contact us before you go into a nursing home to get the help you need to make smart financial choices.
Options for Paying for Nursing Home Expenses
Options for paying for nursing home expenses will vary depending upon the specifics of your situation. Factors that can affect your options for payment include whether you need care immediately or are planning for the future; the reasons for the nursing care and the expected duration of the care you need; and what types of insurance coverage you have available to you. Depending upon the specifics of your situation, some of your options may include:
- Medicare coverage: Medicare Part A, which is also referred to as hospital insurance, can provide some limited coverage. For example, if you require skilled nursing care, you may have your care in a skilled nursing facility covered for a period of time. Skilled nursing care could include things like changing sterile bandages. Most types of nursing home care, however, include help with activities of daily living like getting dressed or taking a bath. This kind of care is considered custodial care and Medicare will not pay for custodial care of it is the only kind of care you need.
- Private health insurance: Many people purchase optional private health insurance to supplement Medicare. Unfortunately, private health insurance policies typically do not provide any additional coverage for nursing home care than is provided by Medicare. You should check your policy to ensure you have determined if there is an option for your insurer to pay for nursing home care, but it is unlikely it will be covered if custodial care is all that is required.
- Long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is a type of private insurance policy that is purchased solely to protect you in case you need to go into a nursing home. Long term care insurance, if you have purchased it in advance of needing care, should cover your costs.
- Veteran’s benefits. There are VA nursing homes and there are some options for getting payments in community nursing homes covered or subsidized by the Veteran’s Administration. Qualifying for benefits will depend upon many factors, including your service record.
- Medicaid. Medicaid is one of the most common ways in which people pay for nursing home care. Medicaid is a means-tested program that is designed to provide medical services for poor people below the poverty line or close to the poverty line (the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, extended eligibility to families up to 400 percent of poverty level but only some states accepted this expansion). Because nursing homes are so expensive, many seniors end up being unable to afford them and thus qualifying for Medicaid.
- Private pay. For those who do not have long-term care insurance and who are not otherwise covered for a nursing home stay, your last option is to pay for a nursing home using your personal funds. This can be a major issue for many people, who want to leave their assets to their loved ones and not spend all their money on a nursing home. The good news is, with Medicaid planning, you can structure asset ownership so you do not actually have to spend down all your money before qualifying for Medicaid.
These are the primary options for getting nursing home expenses paid for. The best option for most people is to work with a lawyer well before they need Medicaid and to create a Medicaid plan to shield assets and qualify for benefits more quickly.
Getting Help from a Blue Ash Elder Law Attorney
Zimmer Law Firm has extensive experience helping clients to create a plan to manage nursing home expenses. Give us a call at 513.721.1513 or browse our special reports to learn more about how we can help.