Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

While there are many types of assisted living facilities in the United States, one thing they all have in common is their high cost. Prices fluctuate, but you can expect to pay between $2000 and $5000 per month for a full-service facility that caters to elderly patients who need help with various daily activities.

Unfortunately, the federal government’s Medicare health insurance program does not cover assisted living expenses. Medicare does provide up to 100 days of nursing home care if a patient has spent three days in a hospital and if a doctor documents the need for skilled nursing care during the recovery period. Medicare also covers home health care in some very specific cases, but it will definitely not help you when it comes to a long-term assisted living solution.

What are your other options?

Life insurance policies can sometimes be cashed out while the patient is still alive. These proceeds may then be applied to the monthly cost of an assisted living facility. If your life insurance company doesn’t offer living benefits or accelerated cash out options, you may be able to sell the policy to another company for a settlement that typically amounts to between 50% and 75% of the policy’s stated value. Check with your local life insurance agent to see if any of these options will work for you.

If you or a loved one is a veteran, the Veteran’s Administration may be able to help with assisted living expenses. If you have a service-related disability, the chances of getting help are even higher. The VA offers a set of benefits commonly called Aid and Attendance. This is available to both veterans and/or their surviving spouses if they are disabled and currently live on a low income. The veteran must have served on active duty for 90 days (or one day during times of war). The Aid and Attendance benefits vary in terms of the amount paid out, with averages indicating up to $2000 a month for married vets, $1700 for singles, and $1000 for surviving spouses.

If you own a home, you may also consider selling it to help offset the monthly cost of assisted living, particularly if you’ll no longer be able to reside in the home by yourself. If you’re not ready to sell the home just yet, renting it is another option that will help defer assisted living costs.

Finally, Medicaid may be able to help with your assisted living expenses if you lack savings and are currently living below a certain income threshold. Medicaid is a federal program like Medicare, but it is specifically designed to assist the poor and the elderly. Though Medicaid is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. All states have home and community-based service waivers (HCBS) that allow qualified applicants to stay either in their own homes or in community settings like an assisted living facility. To see if you qualify, visit the official Medicaid website.

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