Live-in home health care may be expensive, but there are resources that can help make it more affordable.
Long Term Care Insurance or Hybrid Life Insurance
A long-term care (LTC) insurance policy will give you peace of mind knowing that the expense of in-home care is covered. Some policies require you to use a a licensed home care agency or other licensed provider. Before buying a policy, read the terms to make sure what kind of coverage you will have for in-home health care; when you qualify, how much is covered and how benefits are paid.
A hybrid life insurance plan can be a good alternative to traditional long term care insurance. Life insurance policies with a long-term care benefit not only can be used to pay for long-term care expenses but will also pay a death benefit when the insured person dies. This avoids the concern that you might be paying for coverage you will never use if you don’t need long-term care.
Original Medicare may cover some short-term intermittent home health care, but only for skilled nursing care or therapy. Medicare may also defray some of the cost of durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or hospital beds. Medicare Part A and B won’t pay for 24-hour live-in care or housekeeping, though.
Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans do cover additional home care services, including non-skilled care such as medication management, bathing and grooming, mobility assistance and help with catheters or colostomy bags. They may also cover postsurgical or recovery services and medically necessary home modifications.
Life Insurance Settlement
Some life insurance policies can be cashed in for 50 to 75 percent of the face value, to provide money for current expenses rather than going to beneficiaries after death. In some cases life insurance policies can be cashed in with the insurance company that holds the policy. Some policies will only allow “accelerated benefits” or “living benefits” if the policyholder is terminally ill.
If the insurance company doesn’t allow accelerated insurance benefits, a life settlement company may be able to help. The life settlement company buys the policy and pays the original policy holder a lump sum similar to the accelerated benefit that would be paid by the insurance company.
After buying the policy, the settlement company keeps paying the premiums until death. Then the life insurance benefits are paid to the settlement company rather than to the policy’s original beneficiaries.
Veterans who have served at least 90 days in active duty with at least one day during a war, and with an honorable discharge, may be entitled to monthly disability payments for “aid and attendance” which can be used to help offset the costs of live-in home health care. Surviving spouses of veterans may also be eligible.
The application process can be difficult to navigate, but a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) can help. What’s more, this help is free – by law, a VSO is not allowed to charge for help with benefits applications. A list of VSOs is available from the Department of Veterans Affairs website: https://www.va.gov/vso/