When mom or dad can no longer live independently, it’s time to make arrangements for long-term care.
Unfortunately, many families aren’t prepared for the enormous costs associated with getting their loved ones the care they need. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey you can expect to pay nearly $20 an hour to bring a home health care worker into their home. If your loved one needs to be moved to a nursing home, you may pay more than $80,000 a year for their room and board.
For those lacking long-term care insurance or the personal savings to pay these costs, the government can help. Here’s where to look to find government money to pay for your parent’s long term care.
Medicare: Although virtually all seniors have Medicare coverage, this government program does not pay for ongoing long-term care. However, your loved one is entitled to coverage for up to 100 days in a nursing home if they have been hospitalized for at least three days and need skilled care to recover. Medicare is not a long-term solution but, in certain circumstances, it can provide time to pursue other options such as a life insurance conversion or reverse mortgage.
Medicaid: Medicaid is the most common government program used to pay for long term care. Individuals can receive Medicaid coverage if they meet certain income and asset requirements. Once eligible, the program will pay for nursing home care or, under state waiver programs, in-home long-term care. Be aware a federal law requires states to try to recover money spent on long-term care from a person’s estate once they and their spouse are deceased.
Veterans Affairs Benefits: If your loved one is a veteran, the government may pay for their long-term care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Aid and Attendance Benefit and Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Services are two options in addition to regular veteran benefits.
In addition to these programs, local governments may provide other community-based services that allow seniors to remain in their homes longer. Area Agencies on Aging typically have information about local long-term care funding and initiatives.