When a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, you face many challenges. Handling the events of daily life is enough without worrying about how to cover the costs associated with the disease. Here is practical advice so you can prepare appropriately and alleviate worries.
Finding Good Care
It’s important to find the right kind of care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. The National Institute on Aging recommends talking about your care options with your loved one’s physician, support groups, social workers, and friends and family members. Make a list of questions you have, and visit any facilities you are considering to make an evaluation and talk through any concerns. Talk with some of the residents, see if they look happy and healthy, and examine the facilities for whether they appear to be clean and well-maintained. You can also visit an online nursing home comparison tool the government offers, which provides detailed information about every certified nursing home in the country.
Understanding Medicare and Medicaid
Many people expect to rely on Medicare to pay for Alzheimer’s care. Medicare sometimes covers costs in nursing home facilities for up to 100 days, depending on the circumstances. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover most of the expenses related to tending someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Medicaid does not assist with expenses until you spend down your assets, essentially reaching poverty level. There are supplemental insurances to assist with Alzheimer’s costs, such as Medicare Advantage plans. These plans offer the same coverage as Medicare (Parts A and B), and some plans include additional benefits for prescriptions, dental care, and vision care. There are also options to cover fitness services and caregiver support, and a 24/7 nursing advice line is available.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is designed specifically to help pay for care when you have a chronic illness or disability. Long-term care insurance will cover care regardless of where it is rendered, so your loved one can be in a nursing home, assisted living facility, memory care center, adult daycare, or at home. These policies are best purchased while young and healthy, as premiums rise with age. Those with established health concerns are often denied coverage, and women typically pay 20 percent to 40 percent more for policies than men.
Short-Term Care Insurance
These policies are designed to assist with skilled care facility expenses and have a cap on the timeframe of coverage. Underwriting for short-term care insurance is typically more lenient than that of long-term care insurance, so some people with health conditions can qualify.
Health Savings Account (HSA)
Many people are surprised to discover they can use funds from their Health Savings Account (HSA) after they stop working. You can use your HSA to pay for approved expenses, including long-term care costs and insurance premiums.
Options for Early-Onset Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Those who receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia while still working have different options. People diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia can often use the group disability plans provided through a workplace. Coverage and costs vary widely, so investigate this option carefully. You can also inquire about supplemental disability insurance, individual disability insurance, and COBRA coverage.
Many people end up paying for Alzheimer’s care themselves, and even those with insurance coverage often have substantial out-of-pocket expenses to pay. Consider selling assets such as the family home, extra vehicles, vacation properties, and investments to meet financial obligations. Remember, your decisions can affect your tax situation and inheritances, so you might wish to discuss your personal circumstances with an elder law attorney.
Alzheimer’s is a burdensome disease. Explore care and payment options to find appropriate methods for your situation. With an established plan, you can face the future with strength.