Government Funding Options

Finding ways to afford a nursing home or nursing care facility can be a challenge, but with programs offered by the government like Medicare and Medicaid, the funds are available to those who do just a little research.

Medicare and Medicaid

Basically, Medicare is a government-run insurance program for senior citizens. Under certain circumstances, Medicare can pay for a nursing home, though the circumstances are limited. To be covered for this cost, the Medicare recipient must enter a Medicare-certified skilled nursing facility after staying in the hospital for a Medicare-covered medical condition. The hospital stay must be at least three days.

For those with a limited income and limited assets, Medicaid may be the answer. Medicaid is a program that receives funding from the states and the federal government to provide health coverage to those with limited income. Today, Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for those in that income demographic. Because of the aging Baby Boomer population, the fastest growing aspect of Medicaid is nursing home coverage. Medicaid will pay most of the nursing home costs if the individual meets certain income requirements, though those requirements vary state-by-state. Medicaid will only pay for nursing home care provided in a facility certified by the government. You should keep in mind that Medicaid coverage is extremely limited.

Other Government Programs

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is another government program that could help cover the cost of a nursing home. SSI is intended for disabled people over the age of 65 who have little or no income. While SSI can help to offset the cost of housing or nursing home care, it is nowhere near enough to pay for it completely. Some facilities charge special rates for those receiving SSI, though if long-term nursing assistance is required, anyone qualifying for SSI also qualifies for Medicaid, and so it is the Medicaid that covers the cost of care, while SSI allows the resident to retain a small monthly income for incidental expenses.

The Social Security program of the United States is intended to provide an income for retired people. Social Security payments may also go to disabled people who have not yet retired, and those who are the survivors of a deceased Social Security recipient. Social Security can help to pay for nursing home care, but, in general, it is not enough to cover the whole cost.

Make sure to read through our nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect pages to protect your loved one if they are staying in a nursing home. If you do notice signs of abuse or neglect you should notify authorities and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

References:

"Medicare.gov - Types of Long-Term Care." March 25, 2009.http://www.medicare.gov/longtermcare/static/typesoverview.asp (accessed Febuary 23, 2010).

"Social Security Online -- Supplemental Security Income." July 6, 2009.http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/
(accessed Febuary 23, 2010).