Nearly 44 million American seniors currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment and care for Alzheimer’s can end up costing an annual average of $56,800. And while Medicare or private insurance may cover some costs, 60 percent of that expense falls to the family.
Different Alzheimer’s patients need different amounts of care, and their needs may change as the disease progresses. Earlier on, the patient can likely live at home as long as they have supervision and the home is modified for their safety and accessibility. Formal at-home care also allows the patient to stay in their own place while relieving informal caregivers of their duties for a time. Family members can also enlist the help of adult day centers that provide supervision and care for Alzheimer’s patients while caregivers go to work.
People in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease often cannot stay in their home. The symptoms of advanced Alzheimer’s make it too difficult to keep them safe, and they often need around-the-clock medical surveillance. They can be admitted into a nursing home, assisted living facility, or an Alzheimer’s special care unit. Figuring out what options are best depends on the Alzheimer’s patient and their family’s wishes.
How to Pay for Alzheimer’s Care
What Medicare Covers
Americans over the age of 65 are eligible for Medicare, a federal insurance program for seniors. In addition to Medicare benefits, seniors can look into Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplements that can help cover the costs of Alzheimer’s care. Medicare Advantage plans are alternative ways to get your original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Supplements, on the other hand, are a type of insurance coverage that help with paying for Medicare Part A and Part B copayments, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. Keep in mind that you can’t have a Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Supplement Insurance at the same time.
Here’s what Medicare can cover:
- Medicare Part B will cover definitive tests and mental evaluations with specialists including neurologists, psychiatrists and psychologists.
- Medicare Part B will also pay 80 percent of costs associated with psychological, physical, and occupational therapies. Medicare Supplemental Insurance can cover the additional 20 percent.
- Medicare Part D helps pay for prescription drugs and the majority of standard Alzheimer’s medications as long as they are on the approved drugs list.
- Medicare will pay for 100 days of assisted living care as long as it is directly following a hospital stay.
- If the individual is certified as “homebound,” Medicare will pay for up to 35 hours a week of home health care.
When looking for the most affordable quality care for an Alzheimer’s patient, there’s no substitute for old-fashioned research. Call around and get quotes from nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your area. Schedule tours of the ones you like that are also in your price range to get a good feel of the atmosphere. You can also ask about move-in incentives and whether the facility may be willing to negotiate on monthly costs.
Selling Life Insurance
Many seniors choose to sell life insurance policies as a way to supplement their retirement income. Policies can also be sold to help pay for the high costs of medical care associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Contact a life insurance agent, a life settlement broker, or a life settlement provider to discuss your options when it comes to selling a life insurance policy.
Alzheimer’s disease can cost a family an annual average of $56,800. While Medicare can help cover some of these costs, the majority of the expenses have to be paid out-of-pocket. Supplemental Medicare plans and Medicare Advantages can be purchased to help cover costs that Medicare itself won’t. Furthermore, do diligent research to find the best healthcare options that stay within your budget. Finally, if the patient has a life insurance policy, they may qualify to sell it in order to pay for Alzheimer’s care.
Lydia is the co-creator of alzheimerscaregiver.net, a website that aims to provide tips and resources to help caregivers. Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Lydia found herself struggling to balance the responsibilities of caregiving and her own life. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with caregivers and seniors. In her spare time, Lydia finds joy in writing articles about a range of caregiving topics.