Care costs are inevitable when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Though some care situations will vary, certain needs are universal. Through the use of the patient’s assets and financials, or financial assistance, family members or those advocating for them should have an idea of what can be afforded in terms of budgeting.
- Medical care: One of the aspects of care will include medical care. Prescription drugs, hospital visits, doctor visits, imaging, tests, and regular medical intervention will be needed for a patient living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. There will be many follow up visits, treatment, and medical equipment involved throughout the care process.
- Personal care supplies and home modifications: Personal care supplies and home modifications are needed in order to make life as independent as possible for as long as possible. These items include stools, grab bars, ramps, walkers, commodes, etc. Modifications are similar in need and may be required in order for the patient to get around in their home safely.
- Adult day care or in-home care services: Senior homes and retirement housing come in all shapes and sizes. Some retirement communities offer day care or in-home services instead of the traditional full time residential care option.
- Full-time residential care: Full-time, long-term residential care options can be extremely helpful for dementia patients in later stages especially. With so many safety concerns, it can be best to have medical professionals with them at all times. Some of these facilities specialize as Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Assistance for Covering Costs of Care
Care costs aren’t cheap, so assistance in covering some of these costs is valuable. For patients with some financial backing (as discovered by going through the complete list of financial documents to be organized), paying for care on their own and with the assistance of medicare or other benefits can leave the patient and their family at ease. However, not all Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will have a strong financial backing to help.
Medical debt can be a burden in many ways, so it’s helpful to understand your assistance options, know your medical debt rights, and the resources available when finances are strained as a result of medical need. Through the the use of health care, medicare, life insurance, medicaid, veterans benefits, and state funded programs, patients can have financial assistance in getting the care they need.
Health Care Coverage: There are many different options under the umbrella of health care coverage. No matter what type of health insurance you have, chances are there is some sort of coverage for the medical costs associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, knowing that for sure involves looking into the private insurance policies in place. If the patient doesn’t have insurance, it’s important to look into other assistance available as well as how to pay hospital bills without insurance and how to negotiate a repayment plan.
Medicare: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Medicare should cover inpatient hospital care, doctor’s fees, some prescription drugs, some home care options, hospice, and wellness visits. If the patient qualifies for Medicare, it’s important to apply for this assistance in order to get the most financial help for the care that will be needed.
Life Insurance: Understanding the different types of life insurance policies can be confusing, but some life insurance policies can be used for patients who are still alive. For some, life insurance can be borrowed against to help pay for care. Some policies offer accelerated death benefits in which benefits can be paid if the insured person is not expected to live beyond the next six to 12 months due to a terminal diagnosis.
Medicaid: If a patient does not qualify for Medicare, or qualifies for both Medicare and Medicaid, many aspects of care needed by patients with dementia may be covered. Medicaid does cover all or a portion of nursing home costs, which is a giant expenditure in terms of care costs for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Veterans Benefits: If the patient is a veteran, or the spouse of a veteran, there are benefits available that may be able to aid in cost for dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Benefits you receive as a veteran can be supplemental to private insurance. Discussing additional benefits as a veteran with the VA may provide even more support for care costs as some may qualify for help with in-home or assisted living care as well.
State Funded Programs: Each state has a different set of programs that are funded to help people in need. Looking into your own state and the help that might be available could be supplemental to any private insurance, veteran benefits, etc. that the patient already has.
Next up: Long-term-care planning