Many seniors do not realize, until a medical emergency occurs, that Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care in a nursing home nor at home.
Medicaid, the senior health insurance plan in the U.S.A. for very low-income seniors, does pay for long-term care in a nursing home only. A few states with small populations, such as Vermont, have been experimenting with offering senior home care at home but right now, nationwide, Medicaid will provide for ongoing care in a nursing home.
Medicaid qualifications mean you must have next to no assets. There is an anti-poverty provision for spouses to allow a husband or wife who needs around-the-clock care to go onto Medicaid while the healthy spouse maintains home ownership.
As nursing home care can easily cost $80,000 per year, a senior can be forced to sell their home in order to pay for nursing home care. They may purchase long-term care insurance to help avoid this or a reverse mortgage if their home has greatly increased in value since they purchased it and use the proceeds from the reverse mortage to pay for home care. Caregiverlist's Nursing Home Star-Rating Directory provides the daily cost of nursing homes nationwide.
Now, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama in March, 2010, will include long-term care insurance which is basically another payroll deduction option, just as social security and unemployment insurance are deducted from your paycheck. The good news is that the daily cash benefit will be about $75 and can be used for any type of senior care, including senior care in the home and any home renovations required for physcial limitations.