Professional Elder Care Resources
Geriatric Care Manager (GCM): A certified professional with specialties in both health and human services. This type of professional can assist in determining and finding the best living situation for an elder and act as a liaison for long-distance family. They can monitor the care of your loved one in their new home in addition to other services. More information is available from the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers at www.caremanager.org.
Elder Care Attorney: Understanding how past and current assets affect public benefits can be very complex, so discussing financial planning with an elder care attorney before services are needed is important. Many, but not all, public benefits consider the past three years of income and assets. It is also important to have an attorney to discuss questions such as power of attorney and other necessary legal documents.
Long-term Personal Budgeting: It is important to take into account your long-term needs when creating long-term savings goals. Understand potential costs beyond what your expected income and public assistance will be. You may need assistance with not only making meals, but purchasing food for meals. You may also need financial assistance with bills such as phone, cable, heating, etc. Having a plan and some savings before a crisis arises will not only prevent financial stress, but also help control emotional stress.
Employee Assistance/Work Life Companies: Many companies have third-party benefits companies called Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). They offer counseling and referrals to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely affect their work performance, health, or well-being. This confidential service is typically offered free through your company’s human resources department. An EAP can help guide you through the emotional and financial confusion of understanding elder care and the associated finances.
Community Resources: When the basics of living become difficult to afford, remember that communities have resources for those in need. Research food pantries in the community and find out if there is door-to-door public transportation to assist you in getting to appointments. Call the local Council on Aging for a list of community resources available, both to help with finances and personal safety.
Medicare: Publicly funded health insurance available to U.S. citizens or legal residents of five years or more that guarantees health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older. Medicare consists of four programs: hospital insurance, medical insurance, the Medicare Advantage plan, and a prescription drug plan. However, it is important to note that Medicare only pays for nursing homes in medically specific circumstances. The patient must be in the hospital for three consecutive days (not including the day of discharge) and the full cost is covered for up to 20 days. A daily nursing home co-pay of $148 is required for stays between 21 and 100 days, but this amount of time is not automatically guaranteed. For more details about Medicare, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services online at www.cms.gov.
Medigap: Private supplemental health insurance that covers medical expenses not covered or only partially covered by Medicare. To guarantee eligibility without medical screening, a person must enroll within six months of turning 65 or of enrolling in Medicare Part B. Otherwise an individual will need to complete a medical screening as part of the insurance application. Not all individuals will need Medigap insurance, but it’s best to explore the option before making a decision.
Medicaid: Provides health insurance to people with low income (means and asset tests are applicable in most states). Medicaid policies not only pay for medical services and prescriptions, but also nursing home costs (at nursing homes registered with the Medicaid program). You should discuss potential future eligibility for Medicaid with your loved ones.
Long-term Care Insurance (LTCI): LTCI provides a daily or monthly monetary care benefit when the individual becomes eligible based on that company’s benefit indicator. Depending on the policy, funds can be used for various services, from in-home custodial care to therapies not covered by Medicare and beyond. The earlier a person signs up for LTCI, the lower the premiums usually are. Premiums are usually paid for up to 20 years to fully fund the policy. Before purchasing LTCI, be sure to compare the long-term cost of the premiums versus the expected benefits your loved ones will receive from the policy. For more information, visit www.longtermcare.gov.
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