Does Medicare Pay for Nursing Home Stays?
At some point, many retirees need nursing home care for some period of time. While Medicare might cover brief stays in a rehabilitative facility, it generally does not cover long-term nursing home stays. You do still need Medicare for your doctor services, hospital care, surgeries and other procedures, and medical supplies when you live in a nursing home. But how will you cover the expense of the home itself? A nursing home can cost several thousand dollars per month.
A few different options exist, including…
Self pay. This is the most obvious solution. You can self pay for the nursing home, but for many retirees that could mean taking larger distributions from their retirement accounts. You might run the risk of running out of savings.
Long-term care insurance. If you plan wisely, you will consider long-term care insurance at some point before retirement as a part of your planning. If you purchase a policy in your fifties, you can lock in lower premiums. Long-term care insurance will cover most nursing home stays, and some policies also cover assisted living centers or even in-home care options, if you prefer.
Medicaid. A joint effort between the federal and state governments, Medicaid qualification can work a bit differently depending upon which state you reside. But in general, Medicaid is only available to lower-income people. If you’re a retiree, certain assets and income could prevent you from being eligible for Medicaid, but an estate planning attorney can help you learn different methods of qualifying.
If you do enroll in Medicaid, it pays for many long-term nursing homes. But make sure your chosen home accepts Medicaid payments before moving in.
For more information on what Medicaid does and does not cover, as well as information on preparing for the cost of nursing home care, give us a call. We can help you learn what to expect and make a plan to provide for this common expense.