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Nursing Home and Long-Term Care: Options to Cover the Cost

August 6, 2021

Two African American elders using computer with bills

When your senior loved one needs around-the-clock nursing care, long-term care in a nursing home is often a good fit. Nursing homes not only help with daily tasks but also offer skilled nursing care from trained health providers.

This additional care means nursing homes typically cost more than occasional home health visits or assisted living. As a result, families may look into their options to pay for the care their loved one needs. Depending on your loved one, you may have several options for paying for long-term care.

8 Options to Pay for Long-Term Care in a Nursing Home

Long-term care in a nursing home averages $8,821 per month in the United States, according to Genworth. Of course, the specific amount varies depending on the services and location of care. The private pay rate at Autumn Leaves averages about $6,000 each month.

As you look at costs, one or more of the following options may be best for your loved one’s situation. For example, some families use personal savings first and then later qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Retirement and savings accounts

Often, retirement funds or savings accounts are one of the first sources of income used to cover care costs. Make sure you understand all the personal resources your loved one has. This may include a 401K, IRA, or other retirement accounts, as well as savings, stocks, and bonds.

Insurance for long-term care

Check the terms of any long-term care policies your loved one enrolled in previously. In general, these policies should help cover costs. Your loved one may also have an option to enroll now if care needs aren’t immediate and you’re simply planning for the future.

Certain life insurance

There are many different types of life insurance policies. Ask your loved one’s agent for details about his or her specific policy. Options like hybrid policies can provide funds to pay for long-term care. Or you may be able to use the cash value of a policy.

Tapping into home equity

Your loved one may no longer need to keep a home when he or she moves to nursing home care. Some families use proceeds from a home sale to help pay for care. Others opt to keep the home but rent it for income. Or, if you’re considering a reverse mortgage, make sure you get all the details on the terms.

Social security disability

Social security disability is an option for those under 65 who are disabled. These benefits can help cover the cost of nursing home care. However, your loved one must meet specific Social Security Administration criteria.

Using Medicare

Many families wonder if Medicare will help pay for care. However, this typically isn’t an option for long-term care needs, says the National Institute on Aging. If your loved one only needs a nursing home stay for a short period of time, then Medicare coverage could help.

Using Medicaid

The AARP says a large portion of nursing home care is paid for by Medicaid programs. But it isn’t right for all seniors, especially those with a certain level of personal assets. This government-funded option covers care for low-income seniors. So specific asset and income limits apply.

Benefits for veterans

The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs is a resource for those who served in the Armed Forces. Sick or disabled veterans may have long-term care in a nursing home covered through the VA health care program.

Navigating your options for paying for long-term care can be complex. But you can find help. Check with an elder care non-profit in your area about your choices. Some families also choose to consult with a lawyer for Medicaid planning or a financial planner. The National Council on Aging also offers a free Benefits Checkup for families.

See How Long-Term Care at Autumn Leaves Provides Value to Our Residents

At Autumn Leaves, we’re committed to providing value to our residents and families. We offer quality care and home-like amenities at a competitive cost. To learn more about your long-term care options in Dallas, contact us today.

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