New Medicare Web Site for Caregivers
Polls show that the majority of Americans believe that Medicare, the Federal government’s universal health insurance coverage for Americans 65 and older, will pay for what is known as “custodial care,” such as:
Home health aides for those who need help to get out of bed, bathe, dress, or feed themselves;
An assisted-living facility, with handicap-accessible apartments, congregate meals and transportation services; or
Nursing homes where the most helpless of the elderly receive constant supervision.
They are wrong! In general, Medicare won’t pay for or even contribute to the cost of custodial care.
With one exception, all custodial care costs have to be paid for by the recipient,or the recipient’s family, either out of pocket or through private insurance. That one exception is for those who qualify for Medicaid, the state-administered federal program for the medically indigent. That’s a big exception because on the order of 65% of the total U.S. nursing home cost today is paid for through the Medicaid program. But, qualifying for Medicaid can be difficult. As a do-it-yourself project it’s virtually impossible.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (which administers the Medicare program) is very much aware of those poll results and the burdens of providing custodial care, including those that fall on the caregivers.
Starting today, Medicare has launched a web site that is just for caregivers. At www.medicare.gov/caregivers/, caregivers can now find answers to the kinds of questions they typically have, including just what Medicare does cover, how to stay healthy and able to provide caregiver support, and planning for long-term care.
If you are a caregiver for another adult, you ought to give this new Medicare web site a look.
And, if you are a caregiver for someone or you are concerned about running out of money to pay for your own care,call us at 512.330-9802 and make an appointment for an Elder Care Planning Session. We will address these and other issues that are on your mind. Our standard charge for a Elder Care Planning Session is $750, but we’ll waive it for anyone who calls or contacts us through this web site before Thanksgiving, 2011.