Finding the right in-home care for a loved has best been described as a puzzle. In our last blog, we talked about the first three pieces – deciding that help is needed, the type of assistance required, and how often it is needed. The fourth piece of that puzzle is the one that people often have the most questions about: How to pay for services.
If you are very wealthy, chances are you will self-fund your care. Many people mistakenly think that Medicare or supplemental insurance will pay for care. In reality, Medicare only pays for medically necessary care that has been ordered by a doctor. Medicare will not provide funding even if in-home care and supervision is needed, for example, for someone with dementia who really can’t be left alone. In-home care funded by Medicare is typically limited to sixty days. That means that help with every day activities such as bathing, dressing, transferring and eating is not covered for long periods of time.
Some individuals have long term care insurance policies. These policies vary greatly as to what type of and how much care is covered. Often, coverage decisions were made years earlier and may not reflect the present needs of the individual. These policies can be helpful, even if they cover just a portion of the care.
Individuals with low income or minimal savings may qualify for Medicaid programs that offer an alternative to nursing home care. Individuals must meet specific functional and financial qualifications. The Connecticut Home Care Programs support thousands of individuals with home care services, nursing, home delivered meals and more. Individuals must complete a Title XIX application and it is possible that some of the money spent on care may be repaid at the time their estate is settled. For some individuals without home care options, the alternative could be nursing home care, which also requires Title XIX application and repayment. Typically however, in-home care is about one-third the cost of nursing facility care.
Individuals with moderate income and assets often have the most difficult time finding funds to pay for home care. They have too much money to qualify for Medicaid assistance, but they also fear spending hard-earned assets and are worried about not having enough remaining savings for household repairs, medical expense or other critical needs. For these families, funding elder in-home care can feel like walking on a tightrope without a net. You hope you don’t fall before the money runs out!
When you need assistance navigating the complex world of financing in-home care, call your regional Agency on Aging in Connecticut at 800-994-9422. We are here to help you gather the key information you need to help you make the decisions that are right for your loved one’s unique situation.