Does Medicare Cover Caregivers?
Even after a patient has died, the Medicare program might still cover some of the expenses incurred by the patient's family members. Federal law stipulates that the family members of a deceased patient must be reimbursed for some of the out-of-pocket medical costs they incurred during the patient's final illness. To be eligible, family members must have spent more than 10 hours of care in the last 3 months of the patient's life, and they must have incurred more than $260 in expenses, including transportation costs.
Only the amounts spent on the patient's medical care are eligible for reimbursement. To qualify for a reimbursement, family members must have spent money out of pocket to provide the patient with care. For example, if they purchased flowers for the patient, the cost for the flowers is not eligible for reimbursement.
Once family members are eligible for a reimbursement, they must submit a written claim to the Social Security Administration. The claim should include the total expenses incurred, the date the expenses were incurred, and a statement of the services provided.
Does Medicare pay for home care?
Yes, Medicare can cover home care services. Once a patient has been certified for home care by a doctor, the patient or the patient's family can find home care providers either through the patient's home health agency or by contacting private professionals, such as private duty nurses, home health aides, and homemakers. Once the patient has chosen a provider, the provider must contact Medicare to file a claim. Medicare then pays the provider directly.
While Medicare covers home care services, it does not cover the cost of the provider's time spent traveling to the patient's home. Therefore, although a home health aide may have limited hours, the patient may need to hire additional aides to fill in the gaps.
Does Medicare pay anything for home modifications?
Yes, Medicare can cover some of the expenses for home modifications, such as the installation of railings for a staircase or ramps for a front porch. However, the patient's primary physician must certify that the modification is necessary for the patient to remain in the home safely. To receive payment, the patient must have the modification performed by a licensed contractor.
Does Medicare pay for long-term care?
Medicare does not cover long-term care. Long-term care is care that lasts for more than 90 days and involves the same type of services provided by a hospital. The most common example of long-term care is nursing home care. The two major programs that allow people to pay for long-term care are Medicaid and private long-term care insurance.
How can I afford long-term care?
If you can't afford to pay for long-term care, you might qualify for Medicaid. The Medicaid program provides free or low-cost health care coverage to people with very low incomes and assets. While Medicaid does not provide long-term care coverage, the program can help pay the costs of nursing home care.
Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal program. The federal government pays a predetermined percentage of Medicaid expenses. The amount of money paid to each state is based on that state's per capita income. Each state has its own application process, and each state has its own list of Medicaid-approved long-term care providers.
In some states, Medicaid is a need-based program. In these states, you may be able to qualify for Medicaid if you do not have enough money to pay for long-term care. In other states, Medicaid is an asset-based program. In these states, you must qualify for Medicaid if you are not able to pay for long-term care out of your own assets.
If you qualify for Medicaid, the program will pay for all or part of your nursing home care. If you have a spouse who is at least 55 years old, the program will usually pay for at least part of the spouse's nursing home care. If you have children, the program will not pay for their nursing home care.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid, you might be able to qualify for assistance through a long-term care insurance policy. Long-term care insurance pays for a portion of the expenses for long-term care, such as nursing home care. If you have a long-term care insurance policy and you need care, you will receive a monthly check from the insurance company to help cover your care.
The Affordable Care Act gives people access to new private health insurance options, including private health insurance plans sold through new online marketplaces, called exchanges. In most states, people who buy health insurance through the health insurance exchanges will be eligible for subsidies that lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If you are eligible for a subsidy, your premium for a health insurance plan on the exchange will be based on your income.
If you don't want to rely on the Medicaid program or your long-term care insurance policy to pay for long-term care, you can contribute to your own savings account instead. If you have savings, you can use those savings to pay for long-term care.
When should I retire?
Some people are in a better position to retire early than others. If you are one of the people who can afford to retire early, you should consider whether your health will be affected by retiring earlier than planned. If you are in good health and you don't have a lot of financial obligations, you might want to retire early.
However, if you have a chronic health condition or physical limitations, you might need to stay in the workforce to earn enough to pay for your medical care. If you have a spouse or a partner who is still working, you might not want to retire early, because you might need to rely on your spouse for financial assistance.
The decision to retire early is a complicated one. Before you decide to retire, you should discuss your options with your doctor and a financial planner to decide whether the benefits of retiring early outweigh the risks.
What should I do after I retire?