One of the biggest concerns we all share as we age is what will happen to us if we become ill in our golden years. The idea of being relegated to a nursing home, far away from family and friends, is not a welcome thought for most people. Like most people, you may have asked yourself “ Can I stay in my home if I get sick when I’m older? ” The answer to that question depends on a number of factors; however, in many cases the answer is “yes”, you can remain in your home if you get sick.
Unfortunately, science has yet to find a way to halt the natural aging process. As a result, Americans are living longer but are also living with the daily aches and pains of growing old for a longer period of time. Not surprising, this also means that we have a significant portion of the population that requires some type of regular assistance. Needing assistance, however, doesn’t always require admittance into a long-term care facility.
Often, elderly individuals with health concerns or who suffer from illness are able to remain in their home with assistance provided by state or federal programs. Both the Medicare and Medicaid program, for instance, may pay for home health care that may allow you to remain at home if you get sick or need regular assistance.
Medicare provides hospice care for terminally ill patients that allow them to spend the final stage of an illness or condition. You don’t have to be terminally ill, however, for Medicare to help out. Medicare certified home health care agencies also provide home based care for Medicare recipients. Patients who are homebound, under a doctor’s care, and require medically necessary nursing or therapy services may be eligible to receive that care through Medicare. Medical equipment, intermittent skilled nursing care, and physical therapy may also be covered by Medicare; however, Medicare does not cover the costs of around the clock skilled nursing care.
The State of Missouri, through its Home and Community-based (HCB) program, also offers homemaker chore and/or respite care services for those who qualify. Like the Medicaid program, the HCB program is an income contingent program. Medicaid, which is federally funded but administered at the state level, often covers costs associated with in-home care similar to what Medicare offers. Unlike the Medicare program though, Medicaid requires you to have income and assets below the program limits to qualify. Medicaid also covers the cost of long-term care should it be needed at some point in time – something that Medicare does not offer.
To ensure that you will be eligible for Medicaid should you need the benefits offered by the program in the future be sure to discuss Medicaid planning with your Missouri estate planning attorney. Click here to schedule a consultation.