Families need to understand their options when it comes to paying for senior care, but first, it’s important to understand the level of care you need.
Senior care in the home can range from a couple of hours of help per week to 24-hour skilled nursing care. You may think that Medicare is the only option for long-term care, but Medicare only covers nursing and clinical care for acute conditions, usually following a stay in a hospital or rehabilitation, or skilled nursing facility.
Rates vary on how much care will cost. Generally, 24-hour care in a nursing home will be much more expensive than private in-home care. However those rates also vary depending on how many hours a caregiver’s services are needed. Your family has many options to assist you in paying for long-term care. In addition to Medicare, there are Medicaid, Veterans Administration benefits, long-term care insurance and money from savings and other assets. Comfort Keepers can help identify potential pay resources that might be available to you.
1.Medicaid – This program covers a limited amount of long-term, in-home care for those who qualify. Medicaid will only pay for in-home care if provided by a Medicaid-certified home care agency, not by an independent, paid caregiver or family member. To find out about Medicaid eligibility and coverage for in-home care, call 1-800-221-3943 or visit www.colorado.gov. You can also contact the Area Agency on Aging in Mesa County at 970-248-2717, and Region 10 in Delta and Montrose at 970-249-2436.
- PACE – The relatively new Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides comprehensive home and community care for frail elders who would otherwise require nursing home care. PACE is only available in certain areas and eligibility is restricted to low-income seniors, usually those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Veteran’s and Surviving Spouses Benefits – Veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for some in-home care assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, either through health benefits offered to veterans or in the form of a monthly cash benefit. If your loved one is a housebound, these benefits may be even higher. Comfort Keepers can provide help and information in applying for these programs.
- Long-term Care Insurance – If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, it may include coverage for in-home care.
- Life Insurance Policy – Comfort Keepers can help families convert their life insurance policy into cash to help pay for in-home care, even a term life insurance policy.
- Personal and family assets – There are several ways personal and family assets can be used to help pay for in-home care, including tapping into the equity in your loved one’s home and gathering contributions from those family members, who aren’t actively helping with daily care.
- Reverse Mortgage – This is a special type of home equity loan that allows you to receive cash against the value of your home without selling it. For most reverse mortgages you can choose to receive a lump sum payment, a monthly payment, or a line of credit. You continue to live in your home and you retain title and ownership of it. However, you do not have to repay the loan as long as you continue to live in the home. Instead, the amount you owe, based on loan payouts and interest on the loan becomes due when you or the last borrower, usually the last remaining spouse, dies, sells or permanently moves out of the home.
- Uranium workers’ benefits – If you or a family member incurred a lung illness, kidney cancer or fibrosis silicosis within the last 60 years (even if the family member is deceased) and they worked as a uranium miner, uranium miller, worked at a processing plant or transported uranium between 1942 and 1971, they may qualify for $150,000 to $275,000 tax free. This compensation can include in-home care.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Ora Lee of Comfort Keepers. Comfort Keepers can help you decide what works for you. In Grand Junction, call 970-241-8818, and in Montrose and Delta, call 970-240-4121.