Common myths about nursing homes: Will Medicare pay?
Sunday, August 3 2014 2:39 AM
True or False: There is no need to worry about paying for a nursing home (rehab or skilled nursing center) stay. Medicare will fund everything.
Answer: False. Medicare only pays for a nursing home stay if the beneficiary has had a three-night stay in a hospital within 30 days of being admitted to the nursing home, and required skilled nursing care. The Medicare coverage will end as soon as the beneficiary no longer requires the skilled care.
The bottom line is that you cannot depend on Medicare to cover your nursing home expenses. Below are options for paying for nursing home care.
- If all of the Medicare requirements mentioned above are met, the program will pay 100 percent for the first 20 days of a nursing home stay. For days 21-100, Medicare will pay all but $152.00 per day. The best approach is to assume Medicare will not be paying a dime.
- Medicaid is a government program that pays medical costs for people with limited income and assets. If a person qualities, the program will assist in paying nursing home costs once your income and assets are below the amount set by your state of residence.
- Paying all expenses out of pocket can be very costly. The average cost for a nursing home stay can be well over $60,000 a year, depending on location.
- Purchasing long-term care insurance can help soften the blow of the nursing home bill. Visit with an insurance agent to determine the policy options and costs.
While cost of a nursing home stay can be financially draining, keep in mind that planning ahead can help to ease the burden on you and your family.
By Mary Jo Ball, MSW
Manager, Resident Services
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