By Estate Planning attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law – senior advocates and elder care attorneys located in Aurora, IL
Medicare is primarily designed to provide care for people over the age of 65 who can get well, and is supposed to pay for acute care assuming the person needing the care is placed as an inpatient.
“Inpatient” is a key term and has become a controversial issue. Hospitals are starting to have people who are there to undergo tests, but these people are determined to be “under observation,” which means they are on their own when it comes to paying their medical bills.
Medicare helps pay for inpatient care in the hospital or skilled nursing facilities following a hospital stay. But, it’s not just any hospital stay; basically, a person has to have three midnights in the hospital before qualifying for skilled nursing care in a rehab center or home health care. A person could actually be in the hospital for multiple days, having multiple tests, and seeing multiple doctors, and but if they have not been “admitted”, the patient is classified as being merely “under observation”. They need to be prepared to pay multiple bills!
Medicare is concerned about care only as long as a person can get well. There are a few exceptions to that, due to political lobbies that were strong enough to make changes. For instance, Medicare cares for people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and about people with chronic renal failure. Why? Because these diseases or conditions had a big enough lobby to get the Medicare law changed. Medicare does not care about Alzheimer’s disease and was never designed for long-term care.
Although Medicare can sometimes cover up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility, it is intended for patients who need recovery or rehabilitation from surgery or illness. For Medicare to pay for a stay in a nursing home, patients must continue to recover during their stay.
Individuals in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s typically require custodial care instead of rehabilitative care. “Custodial care” means assistance with preparing meals, bathing, grooming, toileting, and other activities of normal daily life. It may appear that this is skilled care, and even involves measures to keep individuals from harming themselves or others, but Medicare is not going to pay for this custodial care.
Too many families needlessly lose everything they have. Don’t let that be you. If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!