One challenge that nearly all Americans will face at some point in their lives is how to best care for their aging family members and loved ones. While many families choose to care for the elderly in their own homes or in assisted living communities, by far the most common option is that of a care home, commonly referred to as nursing homes. On the surface, the cost of a senior care home can be daunting with daily average cost in the United States of $245 but there are three significant things that those in search of a full-time senior care home can do to reduce the financial burden.
1) Relocate to a Less Expensive State
The cost of a care home varies greatly from state to state. By simply moving an individual before placing them in a care home, it is possible to reduce the overall cost of their endeavor by more than half. In New Jersey, for example, the average daily cost of a senior care home in 2018 is $350 dollars per day, whereas in Missouri the average cost is only $160 dollars per day. Generally speaking, states in the Southeast and in the Midwest have the lowest average prices for care homes. In Missouri, providers such as McKnight Place offer all-inclusive senior care apartments starting at $6,000 dollars a month / $197 dollars a day, which is nearly $50 a day less than the national average.
2) Purchase a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan
Medicare coverage for long-term senior care is nonexistent, however, it covers short-term senior care for as long as 20 days. After day 20, the daily copay for regular Medicare holders is $170.50. By purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan, a private insurance company can cover copay for an additional 80 days of senior care. In such cases where a care home doubles as a psychiatric facility, a patient with Medicare and Medicare Supplement Insurance is covered for a stay up to 190 days if they are being treated for a psychiatric condition. If your loved one needs a short-term stay in a care home rather than a long one, Medicare Supplement Insurance may be the perfect solution for your family’s budget.
3) Apply for Medicaid
In the United States, the largest single payer for senior care homes is Medicaid. Medicaid is a means-tested program that only provides for those who are unable to provide for themselves. Although many who apply for Medicaid liquidate or give away their assets in order to qualify, this can be a tricky process as Medicaid caseworkers will often review up to five years of an applicant’s financial transactions in order to verify their eligibility for the program, and certain transfers of large assets can count against a potential applicant. For those who qualify and are accepted, however, Medicaid will cover 100% of the cost of a senior care home.
Aging and all the associated lifestyle adjustments are avoidable for literally everyone. At some point all of us along with our family members will become unable to fully care for ourselves and will require assistance from others. In preparation for the associated costs of this major life change, consider all potential avenues of cost reduction: relocate for better rates, procure Medicare Supplement Insurance in preparation for short term and psychiatric care and plan to apply for Medicaid if your financial resources allow.