As people live longer, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is increasing, and this equates to more money spent on care. According to Forbes, “The average annual out-of- pocket costs for older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are nearly five times higher than costs for people without those conditions,” coming in at $10,315. If you or a loved one is currently facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the following are a few ways to alleviate your financial worries.
While Medicare is a program that many seniors are enrolled in, many don’t fully understand what it does and doesn’t cover. Medicare Part B pays for 80 percent of medical care, including doctor’s visits, appointments with specialists, lab work and home health care, while the remaining 20 percent is left for you to pay after you’ve met your Part B deductible. Part A covers inpatient hospital visits, and Part D will cover the cost of most Alzheimer’s medications. You might also find it beneficial to look into a Medicare Advantage plan, which combines the benefits of Part A and B. Depending on the plan, you may receive the typical benefits such as dental, vision, and prescription, in addition to caregiver support, fitness services and access to a 24/7 nursing advice line. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, which poses an issue in the later stages of the disease when an assisted living facility may be the best route of care.
When it comes to what Medicaid covers, this is another gray area that most people aren’t quite sure of. Medicaid covers home health services such as assistance with activities of daily living, as well as adult day care, both of which benefit the patient and the caregiver. Nursing homes are 100 percent covered by Medicaid, but the issue arises when certain facilities don’t accept Medicaid or cap the number of Medicaid applicants they will accept. As for assisted living, by law, Medicaid can’t cover room and board, which is often where the brunt of the cost comes from. However, according to ElderLawAnswers, many states have found a way to supplement Medicaid coverage by “capping the amount Medicaid-certified facilities can charge or offering Medicaid-eligible individuals supplemental assistance for room and board.”
Long-term care, whether it comes via a home health aide, assisted living facility, or a nursing home, is expensive. Even with Medicaid and/or Medicare, you may still find that you are coming up short. One route to consider is using your life insurance policy to pay for care expenses. The first option is to take advantage of your accelerated death benefit or add one as a rider if you don’t have it as part of your plan already. The benefit enables you to withdraw a portion of the benefit to be used for medical expenses, including long-term care. Another option to consider is selling your policy altogether, known as a life settlement. You may find that you don’t need the policy, especially if you no longer have family who would depend on it. Before selling, it is strongly advised that you meet with a financial advisor to help you weigh the pros and cons as well as ensure this decision is in your best interest.
Assistance for Veterans
If you are a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit comes in the form of a monthly pension, and while it isn’t specifically for Alzheimer’s, it can be used for Alzheimer’s care including in-home care, assisted living, nursing homes, etc. In addition, this benefit can be used to pay family members who serve as caregivers (other than the spouse). The application process can take some time,
but by working with a benefits advisor, you can cut the time down significantly. While you can’t put a price on your health and well-being, a price tag comes with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The focus should be on you or your loved one, but figuring out how to afford care can quickly become front and center. Explore all your options, use every resource and get the care you need at a price you can manage.
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