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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Affording healthcare in the later years

Assisted living is sometimes funded with goverment aid
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs help with assisted care
By Valerie Stout Cyrus

It's the topic that nobody wants to discuss: what do you do when you get older and require more care than your family can provide? The idea of assisted living can conjure up concerns about loss of independence, abandonment by family and friends and even feelings of depression with regards to getting older. However, one of the biggest concerns for individuals and families of those who may require hospice or assisted care living is the financial implications.

Although these facilities can provide the best care for loved ones as they grow ill or become older, finding a way to pay for them can feel like a monumental task. Fortunately, there are several ways that both an elderly individual and their family can plan for affording care in the later years.

Where to start

The financial departments of any assisted living facility are generally happy to go over payment plans and funding implications for either you or your loved one going into care. They are often very good at pointing out options that you may not have been aware of. On the website of Dogwood Forest, an assisted living facility in Atlanta, Georgia, there is a list of links to resources for financial options that can make senior living an affordable choice for families. Some of the options for you to research include:

Veteran's benefits

If you or your loved one is a veteran of military service, there are a range of options available to them that are not open to the general public. There are three senior living opportunities available to veterans: Veteran's Affairs (VA) community living centers, military-only retirement communities and senior living communities that offer military discounts. Depending on the level of care required, many of these assisted living facilities can provide 24 hour nursing care and social services.

Will Medicare or Medicaid cover?

Those that are receiving either Medicare or Medicaid have a range of options available to them, particularly those individuals that may be on low incomes. Start researching what funding is available by reading the guidelines on the Medicare.gov website. Additionally, getting in touch with an adviser from your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can point you in the right direction of where to start when paying for assisted care, and the advisers are also helpful at uncovering options you may not have been aware were available to you.

Do you or your loved one have any insurance coverage?

There are some private insurance plans that include clauses for assisted care living in their regular coverage, as well as specific insurance contribution plans that deal exclusively with the possibility of future assisted or respite care. If you or your loved one has not done so already, discuss their policy with their insurance company to ascertain what is available, and research which care homes may accept those benefits.

Savings and retirement plans?

Many people save for their golden years, both through savings accounts, 401(K)'s and other investment plans. Although there may be a penalty for early withdrawal, ensuring that you or your loved is able to afford the care they need is important.

Everyone knows it's important to plan for the future, particularly for their golden years. However, it's important to also take the possibility of requiring additional assistance or care into account as you grow older. By planning for these possibilities, you can be sure that any required care won't be a burden to either you or your family.

About the author: Valerie Stout Cyrus is a professional blogger who frequently researches elder issues. She has found that Dogwood Forest offers many of the amenities that seniors and their families desire. 

Image license: TownePost Network, CC BY 2.0