Does Medicare Cover Long-Term Care Costs?

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Long-term care costs require more than Medicare to pay for them.

Americans are living longer.

That is good news.

Hopefully, you are one of them.

If you are, chances are you will require long-term care at some point.

Frequently cited numbers suggest about a 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care at some time once you reach age 65.

You do not have to work the numbers in Las Vegas to know those are some scary odds.

And, long-term care does not come cheap.

Check out the Genworth “Cost of Care Survey 2019,” for some rather sobering numbers.

According to a recent Forbes article titled “Does Medicare Pay For Long-term Care? Don’t Make A Big Mistake!,” it is important to plan for these expenses.

Long-term care costs are expensive.
Plan for long-term care before you need it.

Long-term care encompasses a variety of settings and services.

These include home-based care, assisted living facilities, adult day-care centers, nursing facilities, and residential care communities.

There is a catch.

Not all long-term care services can be paid for through Medicare.

Medicare Part A hospital insurance will cover some inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility or home health care.

To qualify for Medicare coverage, care must require the skilled services of a registered nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or speech-language pathologist.

If no training is required to provide the service, the care will not be paid through Medicare.

Also, the duration of care covered by Medicare is extremely limited.

The official Medicare website provides a clear explanation of what is covered and for how long.

If Medicare will not pay, what options do you have?

Long-term care insurance.

A traditional policy will reimburse or pay for full or partial long-term care costs.

The policy may have limits to coverage based on a number of factors, including financial status, the health of the individual, and the age the applicant applied for insurance.

Annuities.

What is an annuity?

It is a contract between an individual and an insurance company.

The individual purchases an annuity.

The insurance company will then pay this back over a specific period of time.

You may choose a hybrid product with a combination of life insurance and long-term care insurance.

Health Savings Account (HSA).

You can use these to pay for qualified long-term care expenses.

This would include personal care and maintenance services for those who are chronically ill.

Reverse Mortgages.

Seniors can use this home equity loan to borrow cash against the equity in their home.

They can continue living in their home.

Charitable Remainder Trust.

You can contribute to charity and pay for long-term care services through the trust while decreasing your tax burden.

How?

Payments for long-term care can be made through the trust while you are alive.

When you die, anything remaining will be given to charity.

Medicare Advantage Plans.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it can cover supplemental healthcare benefits for “daily maintenance.”

What does this cover?

It could include transportation to health care appointments, meals after hospitalization, food for service animals, and ADL assistance.

Be sure to review what any given Medicare Advantage plan covers.

Why?

Not all plans have the same benefits.

Medicaid.

Medicaid will help pay for long-term care.

You do need to financially qualify for this government assistance, so this may not be a viable option for everyone.

If Medicaid is your best option, an experienced elder law attorney can help you with your application.

When it comes to long-term care, planning for the costs early is key.

Reference: Forbes (Jan. 14, 2020) “Does Medicare Pay For Long-term Care? Don’t Make A Big Mistake!”