Nursing home care in the United States can be expensive, especially when you consider that the majority of people who need it are unable to earn income from a job.
In 2017, the national average for one day nursing home care in a shared room was $235. This average will vary per state or even per town. For example, in Michigan, the nursing home care Chesterfield has to offer could well be a lot more expensive or a lot cheaper than the nursing home care Macomb has to offer.
In 2017, the cheapest states were located in the Mid-West and South-East of the U.S, where the daily average was around $165. The costliest area of the country, not including Hawaii and Alaska, was the North-east, where the daily average was around $350.
Still, there are programs available to help you fund the cost of nursing home care. Here are the two main programs available to help you fund it.
Medicaid and Nursing Homes
It is safe to estimate that Medicaid, via state affiliates, funds around half of the nursing home costs in the U.S.. It’s the largest single payer for nursing home care by some distance.
This may encourage families whose loved one needs to be put in a nursing home, but it’s important to know that Medicaid is limited by strict financial guidelines. Applicants must go through strict means-testing program before they are accepted. The applicant’s income and financial assets will be closely monitored before they are accepted on the program.
For those who do qualify, Medicaid will fund 100% of their nursing home costs, provided it is at a Medicaid approved nursing home.
The rules for financial eligibility are shifting all the time. In 2017, the applicant’s monthly income couldn’t have been greater than $2,205. However, this is just a rule of thumb. There are typically many exceptions to these rules. The Medicaid website has detailed rules about financial eligibility.
Medicare offers a short-term solution for patients who only need nursing home funding for a short time. It won’t be suitable for those who need long-term care and can’t afford to fund it themselves. In these instances, Medicare will fund 100% of care costs for the first twenty days, For the next 80 days, Medicare will fund 80% of the cost.
With a ‘Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan’, the secondary insurance will pay the remaining 20% during that 80-day period. Medicare will only pay for 100 days of care, unless the nursing home is also a psychiatric hospital and the patients is being treated for mental illness. In this case, Medicare will fund 190 days of care. Medicare is only available for those recovering from an illness or injury, not a long-term or chronic condition.