Are you finding that navigating the landscape of healthcare costs in senior years is not easy? In fact, as the population ages, there are more and more individuals requiring long-term care services. In addition, whether due to chronic illness, disability, or the natural progression of aging, long-term care needs can quickly become complicated and complex.
It is a fact that long-term care can be expensive. Often many of the seniors we meet with wonder if Medicare will help bear the brunt of these costs. Are you seeking answers to how to pay for the care you or a loved one may need? We have some important information to share on what Medicare covers and what it does not. We will also discuss why early planning with an experienced Florida elder law attorney is crucial.
We will begin with understanding Medicare basics. Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals 65 and older and covers a broad range of healthcare services. Medicare is divided into parts:
- Part A (Hospital Insurance). This covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health care.
- Part B (Medical Insurance). Covers specific doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services. Often you will hear of Part A and Part B referred to as Traditional Medicare.
- Part C (Medicare Advantage). A type of Medicare health plan offered by private companies that contract with Medicare. It provides all of Part A and Part B benefits.
- Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage). This covers the cost of prescription drugs.
However when it comes to long-term care, Medicare’s coverage is limited. Even though Medicare Part A does provide coverage for care in a skilled nursing facility, it is important to note the limitations that apply to most situations:
- Coverage is only for short-term stays (up to 100 days) in a skilled nursing facility, and only after a qualifying 3-day hospital stay.
- It does not cover long-term stays or custodial care, which includes assistance with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating.
If deemed medically necessary, Medicare can cover part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care and physical therapy. But again, it does not cover 24-hour care or purely custodial care as you would need in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Because of the limitations of Medicare when it comes to long-term care, it is vital for seniors to have an elder law financial strategy in place. Here are some concepts to consider:
- Research alternative options. Look into long-term care insurance, which is designed specifically to cover these costs. These policies can be tailored to your needs, but they are more affordable if purchased when you are younger and in good health.
- What about Medicaid? Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover long-term care services, but it is for individuals with limited income and assets. Proper planning can help seniors protect their assets while still qualifying for Medicaid.
- Find out about asset protection. Through trusts and other financial strategies, seniors can shield their assets from being completely depleted by long-term care costs.
- Meet now with an experienced Florida elder law attorney. Elder law attorneys specialize in helping seniors and their families navigate the complexities of long-term care, estate planning, and related financial matters. They can offer invaluable advice on protecting assets, qualifying for Medicaid, and ensuring that seniors receive the care they need.
The good news is that Medicare offers invaluable health coverage for seniors, but unfortunately its provisions for long-term care are limited. Because of the high costs of such care, seniors need to plan ahead as soon as possible and utilize the guidance of an experienced Florida elder law attorney who can help ensure that you or your loved one has access to the best care without the looming stress of exorbitant costs.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.