Nursing Home Costs

Aug 29, 2016

Nursing Home Costs

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Nursing homes, retirement communities, a second honeymoon, whatever you want to call it, the next stage in life can be an important decision for you or your elder. Nursing homes can end up being one of the most costly forms of elder care available. Luckily, there are a few options when it comes to paying for nursing care that can be quite manageable. Below we’ll show you some payment options as well as a breakdown of the variety of costs you or your loved one can expect.

Payment Options for Nursing Homes

  • Medicaid: It’s important to look into Medicaid to help pay for a nursing home. Many don’t realize that even if you or your loved one hasn’t qualified for Medicare in the past, it’s still possible to apply for Medicaid to help pay for a nursing home. Medicaid, through its state affiliates, is the largest single payer for nursing home care. While estimates vary, it is safe to say that Medicaid pays at least 40% of the total nursing home costs in the United States. Medicaid's eligibility requirements vary depending on the age, marital status, and state of residence of the applicant. In addition, they change each year. In 2016, a rule of thumb for financial eligibility of an applicant is that their monthly income cannot be greater than $2,199 (or annually $26,388) and the value of their financial resources cannot be greater than $2,000. However, they are many exceptions to these rules.
  • Medicare: If you or your elder also needs rehabilitation upon their nursing home arrival Medicare can cover some of the medical expenses. If an individual has spent at least three days in a hospital for medically necessary care, Medicare will pick up the tab for up to 100 days of convalescent care immediately following discharge, as long as the patient goes to a home that's a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility. Medicare can also help if a long-term nursing home situation looks inevitable but isn't immediately necessary.
  • Long Term: There are also a variety of private insurance agencies that will provide long-term aid for you or your elder. If you're shopping for long-term care insurance, find out which types of long-term care services and facilities the different policies cover. Also, check to see if your coverage could be limited because of a pre-existing condition. Make sure you buy from a reliable company that's licensed in your state.

Costs of Nursing Homes

  • $205 per day or $6,235 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
  • $229 per day or $6,965 per month for a private room in a nursing home
  • $3,293 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
  • $21 per hour for a home health aide
  • $67 per day for services in an adult day health care center

Factors that Can Affect Nursing Home Costs

  • Time of day. Home health and home care services, provided in two-to-four-hour blocks of time referred to as visits, are generally more expensive in the evening, on weekends, and on holidays
  • Extra charges for services provided beyond the basic room, food, and housekeeping charges at facilities, although some might have all inclusive fees.
  • Variable rates in some community programs, such as adult day service, are provided at a per-day rate, but can be more based on extra events and activities.

Note: There are still a variety of factors that come into play when deciding if and what nursing home to check into. Do as much research as you can to find the best fit for you or your senior. These estimates give a general idea of how much you or your loved one’s stay will cost, but it’s important to weigh multiple options.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will Medicare pay for long-term care services like nursing homes?

For things like rehabilitation that will last no more than 100 days, then it is possible for Medicare to cover the costs. Keep in mind that you must also have had a prior hospital stay of at least three days, and are admitted to a Medicare-certified nursing facility within 30 days of this stay. Medicare will cover 100% of the cost for the first 20 days, however, you’ll have to pick up the cost starting the 21st day.

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If I can't take care of myself, is a nursing home the only option I have?

Although, it’s a better choice for some, nursing homes are not the only type of senior care that can suit someone who needs assistance with day-to-day life. Independent living and assisted living communities provide the flexibility and security of receiving care when needed, while nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are more for those who need daily assistance or monitoring. Continuing care retirement communities contain all of the various levels of senior care, although they are generally the most expensive option.

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