Will Medicare pay for any nursing home bills?

3 answers | Last updated: Nov 16, 2016
Mlprovin@aol.com asked...

My father has alzheimer's and is in need of a nursing home. What will Medicare cover of his bills at the facilities?

Expert Answers

For the kind of long-term care that an Alzheimer's patient is likely to need, the unfortunate answer is probably not much. Medicare is intended to pay for medical care, not for long-term residential care. Medicare Part A can pay for some short-term, skilled nursing facility care during a patient's recovery following an inpatient hospital stay of at least three days. But after that, there is no nursing home coverage. For a look at what kinds of care Medicare does provide for an Alzheimer's patient, look at this site's article Medicare Coverage for Mental Health and Alzheimer's Care.

If your father has low income and few assets other than his home -- or he uses up most of his assets to pay for nursing home care -- he might be eligible for Medicaid coverage of his nursing home bills. If he's eligible for Medicaid, that program can pay the full cost of his nursing home care (in a facility that accepts Medicaid residents) for as long as he needs it. Medicaid eligibility varies somewhat from state to state. To find out what the rules are in your state, and to learn where to apply, go online to any search engine and enter the word Medicaid and the name of your state. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116 and ask them for the number of the Medicaid office near you.

Community Answers

Brendalee answered...

Hello Mllprovin, I hope to possibly give you some GOOD news for your dad. First, I'll give you a run down about my story. In Dec. 07 I had to enter my mom into a nursing home with dementia. She's still there as we speak, only more advanced. I was trying my best to take care of her that summer of of 07 but it got increasingly more difficult. At first she had pneumonia & went into the hospital & she was there 3 days & 3 nights, which merited her to qualify for MediCare, but I soon discovered, in her case, they only paid up to 20 days. I miraculously discovered an 'advanced estate planner' that led me through steps to get her qualified for MediCal. (I am in the state of California) I did NOT have to spend down to 2,000 to your name, as they would tell you. He filled out all the necessary paperwork for me for a fee. Not cheap, but it was well worth what I would have had to otherwise pay a nursing home out of my pocket monthly. My mother had an annuity in which he instructed me to put into another type of annuity to qualify, which I did. I legally took her name off of the title of her home & into mine. Ultimately she was qualified, not having to spend all or ANY of her hard earned savings. He was a God send. She now pays for the nursing home with nothing other than her Social Security. All of this is totally legal. I checked with the Better Business Bureau. There is another company in southern California that does the exact same thing as my planner did for me...the website is nhscare.com. If you are not in the state of California, they might possibly help direct you to the same thing in another state, I don't know. God bless! BrendaLee

A fellow caregiver answered...

I just want to encourage EVERYONE to see an elder lawyer who needs this kind of help. Each state in different; I live in Kentucky, my Mom lives in Pennsylvania--which complicates things--but I had a similar resolution with the help of 2 lawyers, one from each state.