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How Can You Pay For Skilled Nursing Care?

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If you or your spouse has recently suffered a fall or other injury that has left you temporarily unable to care for yourself, you may be wondering about your next (figurative) steps. How can you pay for the care you need to get back on your feet? Will you need to sell your home or take out a reverse mortgage? What happens if your health insurance won't cover home care?

How can you receive skilled nursing care in a facility?

If you're over age 65 and covered by Medicare Parts A and B, you may be able to receive more than 3 months of skilled nursing care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) following your discharge from a 3-day or longer stay in the hospital. This nursing care can be performed round-the-clock and, in many cases, can help you gain the strength you need to care for yourself at home. Under Medicare, your first 20 days in the SNF are free, and you'll pay around $150 per day for the next 80 days (a relative bargain).

Some private insurance plans also cover skilled nursing care in an eligible facility. If you're unsure whether your health insurance offers such coverage, speak to your agent as soon as possible. It's important to ensure that you receive all the coverage to which you're entitled, particularly if the cost of this coverage may be a financial burden on your family.

How can you pay for skilled nursing care at home?

Although Medicare doesn't generally pay for care provided at home, there are a few other options to help pay for home health aides or other nursing staff to assist you in moving around, using the restroom, and changing dressings or other medical items.

If you have limited assets to pay for this care, you may qualify for home health visits under Medicaid or another state insurance program. Many of these programs cover one or two nurse visits per day for a brief period of time during your recovery from an injury or illness. If you have private health insurance, you may also be able to receive short-term nursing services at low or no cost.

A final option to help pay for skilled nursing care is long-term care insurance. Although most assume these policies apply only to assisted living facilities and nursing homes, many long-term care policies also cover care performed at home. Check with your insurance provider to determine if the senior care in Orange County that you need are covered.