The Act Of Finding Affordable Care

by Thomas Ryan VP @Home Healthcare of NY


With all this discussion of the government and the new healthcare law, we are still in the dark as to how we can afford long term care.  Unfortunately our government does not address this growing problem in the United States.  Long term care is not paid for by insurance except in two and a half instances.

The first is medicaid.  Medicaid will pay for a home health aide for as many hours as deemed necessary, as long as your finances allow you to qualify for it.

Secondly there is long term care insurance.  This is like a life insurance policy.  This is something a person should look to get when they are approximately in their fifties.  The reason for that is because it becomes costly if you have a pre-existing condition.  The cost also increases with your age.  There are many different ways you can set up these policies.  You can have a bank of money that you draw upon.  There can be a daily allotment which can go for a few years once you initiate a claim.  There is also a daily allotment that may last your lifetime.  The amount per day and duration are contingent on what policy you choose and obviously how much money you want to put into it.

The half is medicare.  Medicare will pay for you to have a home health aide when you are discharged from a rehabilitation center or a hospital.  This is temporary care.  The basis is to keep you from going back to the hospital.  The social worker will set up a visit from an RN or LPN to your home.  Then from there they will decide if it is necessary for you to have that aide come, and for how long.  Every time I think I know exactly how it works I have been proven wrong.  I am not sure if the rules keep changing or they are just vague.  The average patient gets an aide sent to them about five times a week for four hours a day.  Only Monday through Friday and not on weekends.  This care will only last six to nine weeks depending on your needs.

There are other programs that can help with the costs, but you have to go and find them and then fight for the money.  The veterans can get assistance.  It is a daunting task, but there is money out there.

Then we get to private pay.  This is something I see way too often.  Unfortunately we aren’t all very wealthy and can just afford care.  Many of today’s elderly live on a small pension and social security.  If you are familiar with social security you know that this isn’t very much money.  A live in caregiver can cost in upwards of $6000 a month.  That’s about 3 times the average social security check per month.  There really isn’t a clear cut answer as for what to do.  There are many people that go without the care they need because they cannot afford it.  Some people take out a reverse mortgage.  Many times a person’s house is the only asset they have, so they have to figure out a way to use those funds.

There is no clear cut answer for paying for the right care. My best advice would be to consult the professionals.  Make sure this is someone you can trust.  An elder care attorney may be the right person, or just someone who works with a home healthcare company.  You are looking for ideas and advice.  Everyone’s situation is different.


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