How to pay for senior care

Smiling caregiver combs an older man’s hair at a sink

Most people want to remain in their homes as they get older. Their loved ones want the same thing. The critical question comes down to cost. Here are some key factors to consider.

The limits of Medicare

Historically, Medicare was not intended to provide the kind of extensive support required by older people today. Medicare pays for acute, episodic, and rehabilitative care as well as some preventive care. Long-term care is predominantly paid for with private funding, long-term care insurance, and, for those without other resources, Medicaid.

Even with supplemental insurance, Medicare does not pay for custodial, skilled chronic and supportive care to assist with daily life. Medigap supplemental coverage only addresses Medicare-covered services, not long-term care.

That means most custodial and supportive care that older adults need and want as they cope with the challenges of complex chronic illnesses is paid by long-term care insurance or private funds.

Resources that can help

There are a variety of ways to pay for long-term care. Below are several options.

Long-term care insurance

This type of insurance can help pay for many types of care, including care at home. Policies range in coverage, and a SeniorBridge Care Manager can review your policy.

Reverse mortgages

Seniors who live at home and have a low (or no) mortgage balance can use a portion of home equity for in-home care through a federally insured loan program.

Veteran benefits

Aid & Attendance, a largely unknown benefit, provides monetary assistance to qualified veterans who have served during times of war. Their surviving spouses are eligible as well. This benefit can be used to fund long-term care.

Life insurance

Private third-party organizations now allow seniors to use a life insurance policy to help pay for home health by converting a portion of the policy’s death benefit into a long-term care benefit paid directly to a care provider.

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