What You Need to Know About Long Term Care and Medicaid

It’s no surprise that long term care services are expensive. Many baby boomers think Medicaid will pay for their care, but they may be surprised at the reality of Medicaid offers.

Get to know what Medicaid really covers and decide if it’s the plan you want to make for long term care.

Many Skilled Caregiving Facilities Limit Medicaid Beds

If you qualify for Medicaid, and the care facility you’re at is out of Medicaid beds, you may need to move to a Medicaid home. Many skilled nursing facilities limit the number of beds which can keep you from getting care where you want it.

The other option is to pay for a private room, but many families don’t have the money to cover the monthly expense. That means you could be forced to move to a Medicaid home until a bed opens. In some cases, this rule has forced couples to live apart.

Medicaid Care Is Often Lesser Quality Than Private Care

Many think the level of care they’ll receive as a Medicaid eligible patient will be the same as the care received by a private payer. Wrong.

Medicaid facilities work on a budget and the quality of care doesn’t compare to care and services you receive when you pay for your own care. Make sure you understand all your options before selecting Medicaid as your plan for long term care.

Medicaid Doesn’t Pay for Personal Comforts

Would you like a room with a view? Fresh plants? A TV or telephone? Do you have certain dietary restrictions? Unfortunately, Medicaid won’t cover it.

Anything outside the nursing related services as approved by Medicaid will not be covered. Personal care items and simple luxuries are the expense of a patient or their family.

Your State May Ask for Its Money Back

You may think Medicaid is owed to you as a tax-paying citizen, but as one of the highest line items in state budgets, they may ask you to pay them back.

Stricter eligibility requirements and mandatory estate recovery programs were implemented to slow down Medicaid consumption and get paid back for services rendered. States can recover LTC costs from exempt assets after a recipient has died. This means assets left to your family, including family property, could be taken to pay back the state.

Before you settle on using Medicaid as your long term care plan, understand the program and find out if you’re eligible. Explore other options, such as Long Term Care insurance, to help pay for quality private care in a setting you choose.