Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities
Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities

Paying for Long-Term Care

Long-term care is a costly proposition for which few people are fully prepared. Yearly costs for a nursing facility today can exceed $50,000 per year. Many people mistakenly believe that Medicare will cover the cost of long-term care, but Medicare only pays for approximately nine percent of nursing facility costs. Rather, Medicaid picks up nearly three-fourths of the cost. long-term care insurance accounts for a very small percentage of nursing facility payments. As these figures show, long-term care financing is a serious matter requiring serious planning.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people over 65 and certain disabled people under 65. Medicare covers only those nursing facility services rendered to help a beneficiary recover from an acute illness or injury. Medicare is administered by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Coverage for long-term care services under Medicare is very limited. For more information about Medicare visit their web site at www.medicare.gov.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a cooperative federal-state program designed to provide assistance to low income people. It has become the major funding source for long-term care, covering nearly 75 percent of nursing facility bills. Medicaid is administered by the states under broad federal guidelines. Medicaid will pay for nursing facility care for those who meet a state-determined poverty level, provided the nursing facility is Medicaid “certified.” For information on the Kentucky requirements to qualify for Medicaid, contact the Department of Medicaid Services at 502-564-4321, or visit their web site at: http://chs.state.ky.us/dms.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Because many Americans fail to plan for their long-term care needs, tens of thousands of Americans are impoverished each year by the costs of long-term care. Recently enacted health insurance legislation has helped make private long-term care insurance a more viable option to paying for long-term care costs, while preserving personal savings. long-term care insurance can protect personal assess and inheritance for the family, provide greater choice in the selection of a long-term care setting, and generally provide for financial security. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners publishes a Shopper’s Guide to long-term care Insurance brochure that provides information you should know when evaluating long-term care insurance policies. For a free copy of the brochure, contact the Kentucky Department of Insurance at 1-800-595-6053, or visit their web site at http://www.doi.state.ky.us/kentucky.

Long-term care facilities strive to be like a community where the residents can feel comfortable, find familiar faces, and build relationships just like they would in their homes. Many people have a mistaken impression of these services, so it is important that you gain as much knowledge about them as possible. It’s best to plan ahead and have the conversation about long-term care. By doing so, you can ensure that your loved one will be provided with the highest quality of care and quality of life.