5 Ways to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care
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.