Senior care costs are an item that many of us do not plan ahead for - we just hope that it will never be a need. However, the reality is that all of us should plan for needing senior care services for at least 2 years of our lives.
Medicare, the health insurance program for all American seniors, does not pay for long-term care. In the event a senior should "spend-down" all of their assets, they may qualify for Medicaid, a version of Medicare insurance for very low-income seniors with few assets. Each state administers Medicaid benefits in conjunction with federal funding, which means the financial spend-down requirement varies in each state and you may view these financial requirements on Caregiverlist.
Medicaid financial qualification requirements in most states must be no more than $2,000 in assets for a single senior and $3,000 in assets for a couple. There is an anti-spousal poverty provision that will allow one spouse to maintain more assets while the other spends down to qualify for Medicaid benefits. This can especially be needed if one senior has memory loss or another age-related illness which requires years of caregiving services.
Nursing homes are often an extension of a hospital stay as Medicare will pay for rehabilitation services in a nursing home after a hospital stay. However, Medicare does not pay for 100% of all the costs of a nursing home and only pays for the first 20 days of the daily fee (remember, some activities and hair care and other services cost extra) and then from days 21 to 148 the senior must pay $148 per day. This means, in some instances, switching to one-on-one care in the home can be more cost effective.
Seniors should investigate nursing homes in their area before they need nursing home care, especially since there is a chance if a sudden medical condition such as a stroke or hip replacement, requires rehabilitation, the hospital may do a quick discharge to a nursing home in the area. You may also receive information from licensed senior home care agencies.
Nursing home costs range from $100 to $400 or more per day. You may review the daily costs of nursing homes nationwide in Caregiverlist's Nursing Home Directory to plan ahead for your senior care needs.