Strategies and Programs to Pay for Care
Taking care of our loved ones as they age or if they face a health crisis is one of the most challenging yet essential tasks we undertake. For many, the preferred option is in-home care, where the individual can receive assistance and care within the comfort of their own home. However, the cost of in-home care can be daunting. Here’s a guide on how to finance in-home care.
Cost of care varies from person to person as the level of care and the time needed is considered. A few hours a week may be sufficient for the needs of the loved one. As they advance in age more time may be needed. What duties are involved is also a determinant in cost. Do they need companionship and basic tasks like meal prep and medication management or are there more arduous and specialized tasks needed? These are the factors that affect the cost of care for the individual. Knowing your options for the cost of your loved ones care is a critical step in finding the right home care.
The availability of funds and insurance coverage must be carefully assessed in order to hire the right level of care. Any budget can be accommodated and a good care agency or social worker can help with determining your options. They can also point you to government programs that are available for seniors that qualify so sitting with a professional during this step is essential.
When determining the finances available for care you should ask the following:
* What income, savings and assets are available?
* Did the senior or their spouse serve in the military?
* Does the senior have long term care insurance, what does it cover?
* What health insurance do they have, what does it cover?
* What government programs are available?
A careful assessment of these factors along with a well thought out assessment of their level of care is the first step in determining costs and options for senior care. Once you determine the level of care you can evaluate your financing options. These are some financing options:
- Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare: Generally, Medicare does not pay for long-term in-home care. However, it may cover short-term care under specific circumstances, especially after a hospital stay.
Medicaid: For those with limited resources and income, Medicaid might cover the costs of in-home care. Each state runs its Medicaid program, so eligibility and benefits can vary. Here is the link to the Florida program; https://elderaffairs.org/programs-services/medicaid-long-term-care-services/statewide-medicaid-managed-care-long-term-care-program/
- Private Insurance
Some health insurance plans may cover in-home care, especially if deemed medically necessary. Long-term care insurance is specifically designed to cover long-term care costs, including in-home care. It’s important to read the policy thoroughly and understand the terms and conditions.
- Veterans Benefits
If your loved one is a veteran, they might be eligible for in-home care benefits through the VA. The Veterans Directed Care program, for example, offers veterans flexibility in choosing how to receive long-term care services. https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/long-term-care/
- Reverse Mortgages
For homeowners, a reverse mortgage can be a way to access the equity in their home to pay for in-home care. While this option can provide immediate funds, it’s essential to understand the long-term implications for the homeowner’s estate and heirs.
- Life Insurance
Some life insurance policies allow policyholders to get a portion of their death benefit early to pay for long-term care needs. Check the terms of the policy or consult with an insurance agent to see if this is an option.
- Personal Savings and Assets
Personal or family savings can be used to finance in-home care. It might also be worth considering selling assets, such as a second car or other valuable property, to fund care.
- Federal, State and Local Programs
Many states and local communities offer programs designed to assist seniors and people with disabilities. These programs can vary widely, but they might provide direct financial assistance, discounted services, or resources to help make in-home care more affordable. Be advised that the process typically takes a while to complete (time varies depending on the program you apply for) so be patient but start right away once you identify the right program. Here is a link to a free tool that tells you what benefits you qualify for: https://www.benefitscheckup.org/
- Crowdfunding and Community Support
Platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter can be used to raise funds for in-home care. Sharing the story of your loved one can rally community support and contributions to help cover costs.
- Sliding Scale and Payment Plans
Some in-home care providers offer sliding scale fees based on income or flexible payment plans that make their services more affordable.
Financing in-home elderly care might seem daunting at first, but with careful planning and consideration of available resources, it’s a feasible option for many families. Opting for in-home care provides seniors with the unparalleled comfort of familiar surroundings, maintaining their connection to memories, personal possessions, and the life they’ve built over the years. Furthermore, this choice often fosters a sense of autonomy, emotional well-being, and overall holistic health. By investing in in-home care, families not only address the practical needs of their loved ones but also prioritize their emotional and mental well-being, ensuring that their golden years are spent in a nurturing, personalized environment.