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Fiscally Fit: Planning for Future Care in Your Senior Living

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The money you need to pay for future carePlanning for the future is always sound advice.  We generally put a lot of thought into buying a home, starting a family and retiring.  But we don’t often plan for, or even speak about, healthcare choices and living arrangements for our later years.  At Episcopal Retirement Homes, we believe that future care deserves the same amount of thought and advance planning as other major life events.

Planning ahead and getting affairs in order ensures that you have some control over your future by enabling friends and family to act on your behalf.

We know that it’s important to have the right information before you make a decision, so we’ve come up with a series of tip sheets to help you plan your future care, starting with a guide on how to pay for it.

Paying for your care

As you begin to think about your future care, consider the differences between the major methods of financial coverage and how they are utilized.

Medicaid is a type of health insurance specifically designed for individuals with low incomes or those within specific eligibility groups.  The program receives funds from both state and federal governments, but is administered by each state.  Some specific rules and qualifications may apply in order to qualify for Medicaid such as:

  • Income and financial resources (bank accounts, property, or other items that can be sold for cash)
  • Membership within a qualified group (disabled, aged, or blind)

Each state may also require Medicaid recipients to meet certain other qualifications.  Check with your local county department of job and family services to determine your eligibility.

Medicare provides health insurance covering medical expenses, not including long-term care, for individuals in one of three groups:

  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Those with certain disabilities, under the age of 65
  • People of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ERSD)—a permanent kidney failure that necessitates regular dialysis or a kidney transplant

There are 4 incorporations of Medicare that cover a wide range of medical concerns.

Parts A and B are original to the program and typically cover any care provided in a hospital or doctor’s office—with Part A providing hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance.

Part C combines both hospital and medical insurance into a single plan similar to a health maintenance organization (HMO) or a preferred provider organization (PPO)

Part D is a prescription drug plan which may require a monthly premium in addition to those for Parts A and B.  Recipients, therefore, are encouraged to sign up in a timely manner for Part D coverage to avoid potential penalties.

Long-term care insurance can be found in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to help pay the costs of long-term care beyond a set period.  Long-term care policies usually cover additional costs not be covered by Medicaid, Medicare or your private health insurance plan.

Long-term care insurance generally helps to cover home care, home cleaning, shopping, paying bills, assisted living, adult day care, hospice, nursing home or Alzheimer’s care.  Long-term care recipients typically cannot perform tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, walking or transferring from bed to chair.

Several types of long-term care policies exist. Contact an insurance agent for more information on policies and costs.

VA benefits provide monthly income to offset long-term care expenses for veterans and their surviving spouses.  If you or your spouse meets certain eligibility requirements, you may be entitled to receive a pension, housebound benefit or aid and attendance pension based on need and income.

Some of the requirements include:

  • More than 90 days of active duty
  • Active duty during a specific wartime period
  • An honorable discharge from service

The application process can typically take from 4 to 6 months but acts retroactively to cover the time following the submission of an application.

Contact your local county veterans service online at www.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000 for more information.

By
March 27, 2013

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