The third topic we highlight from the “Striking a Balance” conference addresses the options that older adults may have to pay for long-term care.
First, there are the two government programs known as Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid pays for health insurance and long-term care for low-income individuals. About 85 percent of the 120,000 nursing home residents in Texas are on Medicaid. Alternatively, Medicare pays for:
- inpatient hospital care;
- supplementary medical insurance for doctors visits and outpatient services;
- Advantage insurance plans, which require paying a premium, but usually covers additional benefits like vision and dental;
- and a prescription drug program.
Another source of funding for long-term care varies by state and involves the sale of one’s life settlement, or for someone who has a less than two-year life expectancy a viatical settlement. This and other options will require qualifying paperwork and consulting with an expert.
Reverse mortgages are available to individuals age 62 and older, and provide a homeowner the opportunity to remain in the home while receiving money for expenses. Long-term care insurance can offer support throughout each phase of one’s care from aging in place to a nursing home, and other sources of life insurance can be utilized before death by surrendering a policy for its cash value. In the case of a chronically or terminally ill patient, surrendering an accelerated death benefit policy may be a viable option for a portion to be paid out. This will depend on the policy.
Additionally, wartime veterans and their spouses may be eligible for aid and assistance with activities of daily living. It is important to remember that these decisions involve potential tax and estate planning implications and can affect Medicaid eligibility. Therefore, it is best to seek professional counsel. Some helpful resources to get started are:
- Aging Life Care Association,
- Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area that offers Medicare benefits counseling, and
- Texas Health and Human Services.
For caregivers who need help managing someone else's finances there is a toolkit available with five guides for agents under a power of attorney, court-appointed guardians of the estate, representative payees and VA fiduciaries, and trustees under a revocable trust at www.protecttheirmoneyTX.org.