Rules And Coverage For Alzheimers Under Medicare Supplement
When researching Medicare Supplement insurance, you may come across the fact that if you have Alzheimers, you cannot purchase a Medicare Supplement plan. This is not entirely true. If the plan is a Guaranteed Issue product, you can sign up for Plans A, B, C, or F without having to pass medical underwriting. A GI situation may apply to someone who is in a Medicare Advantage Plan but moves out of a plans service area, or someone with an employer group health plan that is expiring. Then, they have a 63-day window to choose a plan.
Note: A majority of underwriters will do a phone interview as part of their screening process, and it may involve a cognitive test. If someone fails, they may not be able to receive coverage for their Alzheimers. It can be very tricky to cover someone for Alzheimers, so it is best to do yearly cognitive screenings at age 65 to ensure that the person diagnosed receives the coverage they need.
If youre wondering what is the best Medicare Supplement insurance plan for Alzheimers that is considered the best, you have many options. While its ultimately up to you and your specific situation, the option that many people choose is Medicare Supplement Plan D, because it provides benefits for many prescription drugs that are essential to an Alzheimers patients care.
Alzheimers And Original Medicare Coverage
Alzheimers patients receive a lot of financial support from Original Medicare when it comes to things like doctors visits, part-time skilled nursing care, at-home physical therapy, hospice care, and diagnostic testing.
Medicare will give Alzheimers patients nursing home coverage for a registered nurse, physical therapist, or a licensed practical nurse. It will also pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing home care under limited circumstances.
Medicare covers inpatient hospital care and some of the doctors fees and other medical items for people with Alzheimers or dementia who are age 65 or older as well.
Fortunately, under a new health law, Original Medicare will now cover doctors screenings for cognitive impairment. During such a test, a doctor will look at a patients medical history, do a neurological and physical examination, conduct blood tests, do brain imaging and test a patients mental functions. Once the person is diagnosed, they can begin to receive early treatment of their Alzheimers.
Medicare steps up to help when a person is in the late stages of Alzheimers and needs 24-hour care, though the coverage can be spotty and may need to be supplemented with care from family members. Medicare will also only pay for 100 days of nursing home care, and it has to happen following a stay in a hospital. For example, if an Alzheimers patient breaks a leg and needs to be admitted into the hospital, they will be covered for 100 days of care.
Medicaid & Hcbs Waivers And Alzheimers Care
Medicaid is a state and federally funded health insurance program for low-income families and the elderly. Each state administers their Medicaid programs separately. Therefore, each state offers different benefits with regards to caring for individuals with Alzheimers or dementia.
Medicaid Waivers are state programs that allow individuals to receive care outside of nursing homes. Instead of requiring institutionalization, Medicaid Waiver participants can receive care, paid for by Medicaid, in their homes, the homes of relatives, and sometimes in adult foster care homes and assisted or senior living residences. Almost all Medicaid Waivers have both financial eligibility requirements and requirements that the participant have functional limitations. Very few, require a specific diagnosis of Alzheimers or dementia. Instead, they consider ones ability or inability to care for themselves by accessing their ability to perform their activities of daily living. From a functional perspective, mid to late stage Alzheimers patients typically qualify for Medicaid benefits quite easily.
For more information on Medicaid and each states waivers, please use the following links: General Medicaid, Home Care Waivers, Assisted Living Waivers, Adult Day Care Waivers, and Adult Foster Care Waivers.
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Requirements For Receiving Home Care Coverage
While in-home health care services are available for all patients who are enrolled in Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, there are several parameters that must be met. You will need to be under the care of a physician, and he or she will determine if you meet those parameters.
Your physician will determine whether you need skilled in-home services for your condition based on several factors. The first factor is the severity of your condition, and whether it will require skilled in-home care.
One key criterion for determining the severity of your condition is whether you need to be certified as homebound. You actually have to be certified as homebound by your physician to receive in-home health care.
Homebound in-home health care
What being homebound means is that you have difficulty leaving your house without the use of a cane, wheelchair, etc. Or your condition makes going out a major effort and/or potentially risky.
While it may not be recommended, being certified as home-bound does not mean you are under house arrest. You are still able to leave your home for short non-medical reasons like going to a church service or something similar.
Another factor that will affect your eligibility is whether your condition is expected to improve, and how quickly. For example, if you are recovering from a hip replacement surgery, you would most likely qualify for in-home services.
Adult Day Care Programs
Many local communities have adult day care programs. These are similar to childcare programs in that you bring your loved one to a place where they are cared for, fed, and provided with activities. The difference is that the care is geared toward adults with dementia and the caregivers are trained in handling the different aspects of the disease.
Although many programs require private funds, some agencies may have grants or assistance funds available to help. Adult daycare programs can be one way to keep your loved one residing at home while still receiving stimulation and care during the day when you’re not home. Many individuals become very comfortable with the staff and really enjoy their time at these centers.
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An Overview Of Dementia Care Costs
As of 2018, an estimated 5.7 million Americans live with Alzheimers, dementia, and other memory disorders, and 1 in 10 seniors age 65+ has Alzheimer’s dementia. Depending on how advanced the disease, your loved one may require anything from Post-it note reminders on the walls, to regular in-home care, to 24-hour supervision, to skilled care at a nursing home.
Screenshot via Phrma.org
And therein lies the lions share of dementia care costs: in the actual care. Because while many diseases require expensive drugs, monitoring, tests, and other pricey technology, dementia care most often boils down to sheer time: someone must pay for that 24/7 care, and it doesnt come cheap. In fact, as of 2018, Alzheimers and dementia care in the U.S. will cost an estimated $277 billion more than the entire economyof Finland.
According to a 2015 study, the average cost of dementia care was $287,038, compared to $175,136 and $173,383 . And in 2018, the Alzheimers Association estimates the lifetime cost of Alzheimers and dementia care at a staggering $341,840.
Screenshot via Alz.org
Whats more, the average out-of-pocket healthcare costs for dementia patients in 2015 was $61,522 more than 80 percent higher than the out-of-pocket costs to treat heart disease and cancer. Why? Because common dementia costs, such as hiring caregivers to help patients complete everyday activities is not covered by Medicare.
Dementia Care Levels & Their Associated Costs
Screenshot via NCBI-NIH
What Is The Best Medicare Supplement For Alzheimers
Alzheimers, which is the most common form of dementia, is a challenging disease that is tough for the person affected, as well as those around them. It can start with memory loss and lead to the person having to be watched 24-7 in a skilled nursing facility for their personal safety.
Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimers, and with a large aging population, that number is only expected to grow. The most recent data shows that 11% of Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease these beneficiaries are more common than those with asthma, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Lets take a look at what is and what is not covered under Medicare and learn what Medicare supplement insurance is, which can take care of all the other costs associated with the disease.
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Obamacare And Alzheimer’s Coverage
The Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare, includes several provisions aimed at people of all ages who have dementia.
Most have to do with Medicare or Medicaid, however, rather than coverage average Americans can buy through the insurance marketplaces set up in the wake of the ACA’s passage.
Do Medigap Plans Cover Dementia
Medigap plans cover the same healthcare services like Medicare. That means a Medigap plan wont pay for assisted living or in-home help. But, a Medigap plan can pick up where Medicare leaves off when it comes to paying for doctors and Medicare-covered home health. Also, the Medigap plan can pay the daily copay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility and extend the number of covered days of care.
Does Medicare Cover Care Planning For Alzheimers Patients
Medicare covers care planning for those with a cognitive impairment diagnosis. But, it wont cover long-term respite care. For many, a care plan includes Long term care, skilled Nursing, Visiting Angels, or even a home safety assessment. Designing a proper can plan can be a challenge since there is no one size fits all. Some people have unique family situations and different stages require various levels of care. You should include a caregiver to help support you and learn about things that contribute to a better quality of life.
What Is Care For Familys Approach To Dementia Care
At Care for Family, we understand that dementia can be a distressing and challenging condition both for the person living with the illness and for their family and friends.
Dementia results in a broad range of behavioural and neurological changes, which can be difficult for those without training and experience in dementia care to understand and manage.
Our team of trained and experienced care workers provide in-home support for:
- Dementia patients experiencing paranoia, delusions or hallucinations
- Young-onset dementia
- Violent or aggressive patients and
- Patients with severe dementia or Alzheimers disease
Proper care for people experiencing dementia will ensure the least possible distress to sufferers and their loved ones. As the stages of dementia progress, peoples care needs often increase, which is why our care plans are designed to adapt as our clients needs change.
First and foremost, our person-centred approach to care ensures that our clients and their loved ones are at the heart of everything we do.
We aim to give a voice to our clients and their loved ones, and give them autonomy and control over their care.
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How To Pay For Dementia Care
With all these numbers and often, unfathomable numbers dancing around in your head, its easy to panic. How will your loved one ever be able to afford dementia care over the next one, three, five or more years?
You can breathe a sigh of relief because, thankfully, government assistance, private aid, and other help exists to help you pay for the skilled care your loved one needs.
Heres a basic overview:
Like most health insurance, Medicare makes no differentiation between dementia care and other diseases, such as cancer. What this means in practical terms is that, if your loved one qualifies for Medicare, then Medicare will pay for dementia care within very firm limits and theyre strict, often frustrating limits: 100% of nursing home care for 20 days, and 80% of nursing home care for up to an additional 80 days. Thats just 100 days, or less than 3 months of nursing home care.
Additionally, Medicare will not cover custodial or personal care, in-home health aides, or even assisted living for dementia patients. For this reason, dementia patients almost always require secondary assistance, beyond the confines of Medicare. Which brings us to:
Medigap and Supplementary Insurance
Medigap care does not specifically cover dementia care, but it typically does pay the final 20% of nursing home care that Medicare does not cover.
For dementia patients who require highly skilled care, Medicaid is the largest single payer of nursing home care.
Paying For Alzheimers Care Overview
Alzheimers disease, Lewy Body dementia, Frontotemporal dementia , and other related memory disorders and dementia affect over 5.5 million aging Americans. Depending on the stage of these diseases, individuals can require 24-hour supervision or care. This means each year in the U.S., there are billions of hours spent caring for individuals with these conditions. While the vast majority of that care is provided by friends and family members, what happens when those caregivers are not available? Who pays for Alzheimers care? Fortunately, there are many programs that provide financial assistance, respite care, and other forms of aid to help families and caregivers.
The worldwide cost of dementia care is approximately 1 trillion U.S. dollars. If dementia care were a country, it would be the worlds 17th largest economy.
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Does Part C Cover Alzheimers Patients
Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least as good as Medicare. Some plans will offer benefits beyond what Medicare covers such as Long Term Care, house cleaning services, and telehealth. But, not all plans in every location offer these services. Some areas have few options for Part C, while other areas provide you with a plethora of options.
How Much Will I Have To Pay If I Qualify
With Original Medicare coverage , eligible seniors will pay nothing for home health care services that are ordered by a doctor and provided by a certified home health agency. Any additional services provided outside of the approved care plan will not be covered and must be paid for out of pocket.
Be aware that before services begin, the home health agency should provide an itemized receipt or plan of care that identifies what is eligible for Medicare coverage and what is not. A written notice called the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage will detail any services and durable medical equipment that Medicare will not pay for as well as the costs the patient will be responsible for.
Use the guide below to determine the combination of payment options that will help your family cover home care costs.
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Does Medicare Cover Alzheimers Testing
Whether you have dementia or Alzheimers you can expect coverage to be available. Medicare does cover Alzheimers testing. A doctor will run various tests before an Alzheimers diagnosis. Often, these tests require visits to the neurologist, neuropsychologist, and geriatricians. Testing can include physical examination as well as laboratory tests.
Medicare Advantage Plans May Offer More Benefits For Dementia Care
As part of the Chronic Care Act of 2018, Medicare Advantage plan providers are able to provide expanded benefits to their beneficiaries, called supplemental benefits, starting in 2019 and 2020.
Some of these additional benefits may include:
- Home modifications, such as bathroom grab bars
- Non-medical home care, such as custodial care
- Adult day care
Because Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies, plan availability and the benefits they offer may vary from one location to another.
To learn more about Medicare Advantage plans in your area, your eligibility to enroll, and the benefits that they offer, call to speak with a licensed insurance agent today.
Compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area
Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 24/7 to speak with a licensed insurance agent.
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The Cost Of Memory Care
Memory care typically costs 20% to 30% more than assisted living, depending on where the memory care facility is located, the number of amenities and the type of programming the facility offers. According to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living across the United States is $4,051 per month. To find out the average cost of memory care nationally, we added 25% to the cost of assisted living Memory care in the U.S. costs about $5,064 per month.
Even though memory care is most often provided in an assisted living facility and includes the same personal care services and amenities, memory care costs are higher than assisted living because it requires specialized staff training, therapy and programming as well as specific facility design and security.
How Much Does Dementia Care Cost In An Assisted Living Facility
The cost of Alzheimers care in an assisted living facility may come to over $1,000 a month. This cost is on top of the regular cost of an assisted living facility which may be from $3,000 to $6,000 per month.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
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Medicares Benefits For Alzheimers & Dementia
There is not a simple answer to the question does Medicare pay for Alzheimers care?. Medicare, like most health insurance, does not differentiate Alzheimers and dementia care from other conditions such as heart disease. Instead, Medicare has certain policies with regards to when and how much it will pay for care. For example, Medicare will pay for 100% of the cost of nursing home care if it is medically necessary for 20 days and 80% of the cost for an extra 80 days. If an individual with Alzheimers requires care in a psychiatric hospital, Medicare increases the number of days they will provide assistance up to 190 days.
Medicare does not pay for personal care at home or in assisted living and its nursing home benefits are limited to 100 days.
Medicare does not pay for custodial or personal care that is provided in an assisted living residence. But it will pay for medical care provided in that location. The same applies for home care and adult day care. Personal care services, assistance with the activities of daily living and supervision that are typically necessary for Alzheimers patients are not covered. But medical care is covered. There is an exception to this for individuals receiving hospice care at home. Medicare will pay for homemaker services, which includes personal assistance for individuals determined to be in the final 6 months of their life.
Examples of potentially available benefits, which can be very instrumental for persons with Alzheimers, include: