As you age, you want know that your health needs will be taken care of. There are a number of unique costs associated with aging, particularly when you progress to a point that you can no longer care for yourself in your home. What can you rely on Medicaid to pay for you, and what will you need to plan to pay for yourself?
Nursing Home Care
Most states have a Medicaid plan in place that will help pay for nursing home care. While you will have to meet income and asset requirements as well as require these long-term care services in order to qualify for Institutional Medicaid, Medicaid coverage is the ideal way to pay for a nursing home for many aging individuals. In some states, like New York, there is an asset limit and no income cap, but since Medicaid is a joint federal and state program and hence the rules vary considerably from state to state, be sure to check the regulations in your state. Once these state requirements have been met, you’ll be able to choose from a list of Medicaid-approved nursing home facilities.
In some states, Medicaid will also cover a stay in an assisted living center, as part of Community Medicaid. The first requirement is that you need the level of care offered there—that is, that you are no longer able to care for yourself in your own home. Assisted living facilities are often less invasive and provide fewer medical services than a nursing home, so for many aging adults, this is an ideal solution.
Retirement communities are designed with areas for elderly individuals who are still able to live independently alongside those who have the need for a higher level of care. Unfortunately, Medicaid does not cover the cost of living in a retirement community for those who do not have a medical need for services rendered.
If you’re still able to remain in your home with a reasonable level of care, home care might be a viable option for you. By working with Medicaid, you can receive a variety of home-care services, including meal delivery, help with daily tasks, and other necessary services. Each state requires that those who are eligible for Medicaid make less than a predetermined amount per month and any income above this cap will render the individual ineligible for Medicaid assistance. In some states—like New York, for example—income above the state limit do not automatically render the applicant ineligible and excess funds can be placed in a pooled income trust to be used for specific expenditures. The rules and regulations can get complex and it is often advisable to reach out to a Medicaid professional in your state or to educate yourself fully.
Adult Day Care
In some cases, you might find that you’re able to remain home due to the care of an adult child or spouse, but that you’re not able to be at home alone during the hours when they’re at work. That’s when adult day care is highly beneficial. You’ll receive the services that you need during the day while interacting with other individuals in your age group, and at the end of the day you’ll return to your own home. In New York and New Jersey, if you meet the requirements for Medicaid, you are eligible to have it pay for this service.
There are a wide variety of programs available to care for your needs as you age. While it may at first be difficult to navigate, over time you’ll discover what works best for your unique situation.
Benny Lamm is a communication specialist and blogger. He enjoys playing the guitar, spending time with family and social networking.