As the premier provider of in-home care for seniors, we recognize the financial strain endured by family members who seek long-term care services for their loved ones. As a trusted home care advisor, we want to help as much as possible to ensure your aging loved one lives a happier, healthier life at home.
Non-medical home care, though necessary for safety, security and well-being, is generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid so advanced planning is necessary. Here are six ways to fund the essential care you might need to age well at home.
Paying Privately for Home Care
Private pay is the most common way to pay for home care. When choosing this option, meet with a financial advisor. Discuss and formulate a financial plan to pay for your or your loved one’s care services. Oftentimes, family members are open to creating a financial plan together. To create a financial plan, use a care manager as a resource to help you look for affordable care options.
Using Long-Term Care Insurance to Pay for Home Care
Long-term care insurance can be as a tremendous help when paying for in-home care services. Long-term care insurance policies tend to vary depending on which insurance provider your loved one has so it is very important to read through the details of the policy. Some specific details to take note of include: what services are covered, how much the policy pays per day, its lifetime maximum payout and any additional benefits received. Also, take the length of the elimination period of the policy into consideration. Most insurance policies have 90-day elimination periods during which you will need to cover care needs out of pocket. If you are unclear about the specifics of the policy, ask an insurance agent to provide you with more information.
Clients of Home Care Assistance with long-term care insurance benefit from our paperwork submission, collection of care notes and submission of records so that you are reimbursed by the insurance company in a timely fashion. There is no extra charge for this service.
Some seniors have long ago established long-term care insurance policies unbeknownst to their family. Each policy and each carrier are very different from each other and require a thorough analysis to understand the potential benefits. By contacting the carrier directly, or sometimes the insurance agent, you may obtain a benefits summary prior to scheduling care. This can be very helpful in understanding daily benefits, lifetime maximums, any waiting periods, and the qualifications to receive benefits. Depending on the policy this can cover some or all of your family’s home care needs. Care managers at Home Care Assistance can help you through the process of determining the best way to qualify for benefits and use your plan.
Qualifying for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
Aid and Attendance benefits are for military veterans who qualify for a service-connected issue or a non-service connected pension. To help navigate the VA bureaucracy, start with your state’s Department of Veterans Affairs and a State Service Officer. State Veterans Affairs offices will act as your advocates to guide you or your loved one through the process of identifying and obtaining any benefits that the veteran is entitled to. They work for you to get the benefits from the federal Veterans Administration.
Aid and Attendance is a tax-free monthly pension given to veterans and their spouses who need assistance with daily living. Eligibility requirements tend to vary on wartime qualifications (e.g. must have been an active-duty veteran living on base, not in the Reserve, or National Guard), income and medical qualifications.
Medicare’s 100 Days of Home Care
Once your loved one turns 65, they become eligible for Medicare. In some states, Medicare will supply limited hours of home care based on financial need. Typically, Medicaid will pay for 100 hours of home care following a qualifying hospitalization. Medicare will only cover home health care from a certified home health agency, and the individual must be approved. However, in most states, Medicare typically does not cover non-medical home care needs.
Medicaid’s Home Services
Medicaid is an option for individuals who qualify as low-income in their state. In some cases, Medicaid will cover the costs of long-term care services, including home care. Check your state’s eligibility requirements.
Minimizing Care Usage
Another alternative is to try to minimize the amount of care your loved one receives in an effort to cut costs. Ironically, this strategy may be the most costly choice of all. The most expensive cost would be a precipitous decline in health or safety. Compromised safety can lead to a hospitalization, rehab facilities, and eventually nursing home care, through the end-of-life; all of which can be expensive. Maintaining health and as much independence as possible not only provides a higher quality of life, it’s also a means to make the care dollars go further. Talk with a professional care manager about strategies to maximize health and wellness all within an affordable budget.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating options for how to pay for non-medical home care:
1. Do you depend on SS for income? 口 Yes 口 No
2. Monthly income including SS:
3. Monthly VA benefit:
4. Amount of money available to
pay per year for care: _____________________________
5. Home value:
6. Total asset value:
7. Desire to protect assets for heirs?
口 Yes 口 No
8. Would you consider an alternative
place to live? 口 Yes 口 No
9. Do you have a Power of Attorney
for finances? 口 Yes 口 No If yes, who____________________
Amanda Lambert is the owner and president of Lambert Care Management, LLC which provides care management for older and disabled adults. She is the co-author of, Aging with Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). She has worked for over 20 years in the senior-related industry including mental health, marketing and guardianship. She has a passion for topics related to health, wellness and resilience as we age.