How to Pay and Plan Ahead
Last year, Alzheimer's cost Americans billions of dollars in paid and informal care — and that number is growing. It's important to build a sound financial and legal plan.
Paying for Medical Care and Daily Living Services
Alzheimer's care can be extremely expensive. It's important to know what to expect and what resources are available to you. Care for a person with Alzheimer's is broken down into two categories, each with different sources of payment. Medical expenses are usually paid separately from the non-medical services that are needed to make it possible for someone with Alzheimer's to live at home as long as possible.
People with Alzheimer's disease require regular medical care as well as some special care that might include medications or other interventions. Medical services are often covered under medical insurance (either Medicare or private health insurance). It may be important to examine the health coverage to determine the extent of coverage limitations or co-pays and deductibles.
- Medicare's website provides details about Medicare coverage in general.
- The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information provides details about Medicare-related to long-term care needs.
- Medicare has information on Medicare Drug plans.
- The zip code finder helps locate a Medigap Policy in your area.
Private Health Insurance
If the person with Alzheimer's has private health insurance it is important to contact the insurer and learn what lifetime maximums or other limitations you may encounter. Knowing what you are covered for in advance will help avoid surprises when coverage is denied.
Long-term care refers to a set of services and supports for activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, eating and moving around. Medicare does not generally pay for long-term care and Medicaid is only available under specific circumstances.
Almost half of the formal long-term care provided in the U.S. is paid for out-of-pocket. While not every person with Alzheimer's disease needs long-term care, it is important to develop a plan because it can be very expensive. A list of long-term care services and their definitions is available.
Medicaid is a state/federal program that pays for long-term care services. The program is administered by each state so eligibility criteria and services may differ from one state to another.
It is important to learn what the rules are in your state. Each state also provides a somewhat different set of services. Nursing homes are always covered but coverage for in-home services varies.
- The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information provides an overview of the Medicaid program and a link to state-based Medicaid resources.
Programs for Veterans with Alzheimer's Disease
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Geriatrics and Extended Care resources include an overview of eligibility, and details on home- and community-based services, nursing homes and other residential care.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers support and resources to caregivers.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance's FAQ provides answers to individuals who provide caregiving services to veterans.
Private Long-Term Care Insurance
- The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information has an overview of long-term care options, details on cost, how to buy insurance, and provides information on state partnership programs.