Paying for Alzheimer’s Care

5 Ways to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care

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Every 65 seconds a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease— that means more than 5 million Americans over the age of 65 live with this devastating disease. These seniors, and their families, are managing care for a chronic condition that can be moderate or severe, and progresses over time. That’s why there is such a high emotional cost with Alzheimer’s — and a high financial cost, too. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that for all people diagnosed in the U.S., the disease costs an estimated $277 billion a year. More than $60 billion of that comes directly out of the pockets of patients.

Many individuals pay an annual average of $56,800 for the treatment and care associated with Alzheimer’s. Medicare or private insurance covers about 40 percent of those costs, which leaves people struggling to cover the remaining 60 percent. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, things might seem frightening or hopeless, wondering how you’ll deal with the cost of care. It’s important you talk to your family, insurance plan and healthcare provider, but, in the meantime, here are a few ideas about ways you can cover that 60 percent without sacrificing the quality of your care.

  • Medicare Advantage Plans: If you are relying solely on traditional Medicare to help with Alzheimer’s costs, you might be footing the bill for a lot of services. For instance, there are gaps in coverage when it comes to prescription drugs, in-home care and rehabilitative services. Be clear on what your plan does and does not cover so you can look into supplemental plans that offer more assistance.
  • Tap into Your Equity: After a lifetime of living and working, you have assets you can dip into to help cover the cost of unexpected expenses that can pop up with Alzheimer’s care. For example, you can sell a life insurance policy, cash out a 401k or take out a reverse mortgage on your home. We’ve all heard horror stories associated with reverse mortgages, which is why it’s critical you do thorough research to find trustworthy and reputable reverse mortgage lenders that can assist you with the process.
  • End-of-Life Insurance Options: It’s not uncommon for bills and debt to pile up while managing Alzheimer’s care; something you don’t want to leave behind for your family to deal with. You can purchase additional insurance to help protect their financial future. For instance, burial insurance can not only cover the cost of funeral arrangements, but many options even cover other outstanding debt.
  • Government Assistance: In most cases, Alzheimer’s disease qualifies as a disability, which means you may qualify for government assistance programs like Supplemental Security Income or, for those under 65, Social Security Disability Income. Many states also offer caregiver support programs to help offset the costs of hiring in-home help.
  • Clinical Trials: Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision that not everyone is ready to make. Since Alzheimer’s is a degenerative cognitive disorder, a person in a more severe version of the disease may not be ethically able to clearly make a decision. However, for those that can, and do, clinical trials can provide people with low or no cost access to leading healthcare facilities. Plus you’ll be contributing to the future of Alzheimer’s care. There are a lot of risks and side effects to consider, so be sure to weigh your options.

Right now, you might be feeling overwhelmed and alone. Navigating the complex world of planning and paying for Alzheimer’s care can be hard, but it is not impossible. Whether trying to find coverage for yourself or a family member, there are options out there that can make good care much more accessible.

Tips to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care

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From Marie Villeza – elderimpact.org

If you’re overwhelmed by the Cost of Alzheimer’s Care, you’re far from alone. There are roughly 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that affects their friends and family members struggling to give them the care they need as the patient struggles with memory loss and confusion.

There is help available, but it comes with a large price tag, as assisted-living costs have risen to more than $3,500 per month on average. Even the less-expensive options require careful planning, and those are only viable in the early stages of the condition. You’re in for a battle, though there are ways to ensure your loved one is looked after well into their golden years.

Research Cost-Effective Options

It’s often possible to save money by exploring home care, though this isn’t always possible during the later stages of the disease. To determine whether it’s cheaper, the researchers at Paying for Senior Care have developed a calculator to put an accurate price on total services based on factors including the number hours of medical and personal assistance required per week — as as well as rent, utilities, and food — all of which can be added up and compared with the cost of assisted-living facilities in your area.

Find the Right Caregivers

To choose a quality home care provider, begin by taking referrals from the patient’s doctor as well as friends and family. Once you’ve found individuals or agencies that offer the services you need, check their qualifications and interview the caregivers to gauge their level of experience and whether they’re the right fit. Another decisive factor is how innovative the caregivers are in their use of communication and monitoring technology. You’ll need to make similar inquiries when choosing an assisted-living or memory care facility.

Tap Savings and Investments

One way to pay for these services is by paying the money yourself out of savings and investments. As for the latter, there are a number of strategies that offer relatively low risk with steady returns over the long term. A writer with CNN Money recommends a balanced and diversified approach by putting your money in a total US stock market index fund and a total US bond market index fund. The payouts could cover retirement expenses as well as the care needed for Alzheimer’s, or at least help fill in the gaps.

Play the Insurance Game

The ideal policy would be long-term care insurance, but this is unavailable if the patient has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If that’s not the case, research plans while you have the chance. Other finance options via insurance include living benefits, which are payouts on life insurance while the policy-holder is still alive, with the money made available for medical expenses such as an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

Use Medicare and Related Programs

Medicare only covers skilled care for up to 100 days, but there are means of paying for long-term care. Medicaid covers a wide variety of custodial services but only for those who fall below a certain income threshold. It may help to enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans, which are offered by private insurers and are eligible for those enrolled in Medicare A and B; you can sign up over the phone, online, or via a form provided by a plan sponsor.

Contact Charitable Organizations

There are a number of charities that are ready to step in and offer help in addition to their fundraising activities to fund Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, provides a variety of social services, including support groups for caregivers and family members, while the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation dedicates its resources to physical therapy, brain fitness workshops, and caregiver support in Long Island, New York.

Though the going may be rough, being prepared mentally and financially will make living with Alzheimer’s disease a little easier. There will be time for you to enjoy with your loved one despite their condition, knowing they are getting the care they need.