Does Medicare Cover Nursing Homes?

The choice to move yourself or a loved one into nursing home care is never easy, but it is an important possibility to plan for. While a relatively small portion of the population lives in these types of residences (4.5% of older adults live in nursing homes and 2% in assisted living facilities), they can be extremely expensive for those who need it. The National Center for Assisted Living reports the average cost per year for assisted living is $48,000. But these costs can rise to $10,000 per month or more, depending on where you live and the level of care that is required.

There is a common misconception that Medicare provides coverage for assisted living. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The cost of room and board and personal care are not covered by Original Medicare, though many medical expenses incurred while at nursing home facilities may be covered (the same they would be in a doctor's office, hospital, or at home). Additionally, Medicare Part A covers short-term stays (up to 100 days) of skilled nursing facility (SNF) care.

While Medicare does not cover nursing home care, you do have other options that can provide long-term assisted living coverage:
·  Medicaid covers long-term care services, including assisted living and nursing home care. This is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a limited income, and it works alongside your Medicare coverage.
·  Long-term care insurance in general will cover nursing and assisted living care, which will reduce your costs. However, certain policies can only be purchased if you are in good health, and these plans tend to run on the expensive side.

Understanding the costs of senior care and the different options available to help cover the costs can help you determine the best course of action. If you are in the process of planning your future living arrangements, we encourage you to assess your available resources. It is worth it to start saving for this possibility, rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. And if you have any further questions about your Medicare coverage, give us a call at (855) 665-9200.

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