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The Medicaid Option That Can Pay Family Caregivers

September 6, 2013

Caregiving for a parent can be costly—especially if you quit your job to do it. But there are a few ways family caregivers can actually get paid for their caregiving work.

We published an article about this here. But recently, the syndicated Savvy Senior column also went over some options. For some people, one is Medicaid:

In 15 states, Medicaid offers a Cash & Counseling program (see cashandcounseling.org) that provides an allowance that can be used for various services, including paying family members for care.

Many other states have similar programs for low-income seniors, even if the person receiving care doesn’t quite qualify for Medicaid. To find out about these options contact your local Medicaid office.

The column also talks about veterans aid, tax breaks and family payments.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Do In-Home Care Agencies Have to Be Licensed?

September 5, 2013

When you’re looking for an in-home care agency, should you check their certification or licensing? Well, only if the state requires it. And 27 do, reports The New Old Age in a recent post, citing a 2011 report from the Private Duty Homecare Association.

The post is about a debate in California over licensing, regulating and unionizing in-home care agencies and workers. Some say more regulation is needed to help ensure the safety of people who hire these agencies. Others say too much—or the wrong kind of—regulation could make prices go up, making home care unaffordable to many.

For other questions to ask in-home care agencies—whether your state requires licensing or not—check out “Evaluating In-Home Care Services: A Checklist.”

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Tip to Avoid Hefty Nursing Home Bill After Hospital Stay

September 4, 2013

Sometimes after a hospital stay, Medicare beneficiaries are sent to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation. And sometimes, they’re charged for that nursing home stay.

Though Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care in a nursing home, it does cover limited post-hospital rehab in one—if the patient was actually admitted to the hospital. Some are instead admitted under “observation status”—and may not realize it.

“Medicare requires a beneficiary to spend three ‘in-patient’ nights in a hospital before it will pay for related skilled nursing care,” reports The Plain Dealer, an Ohio newspaper. To help you avoid a hefty rehab-related nursing home bill—and other financial miseries of observation status—the paper lists tips from the Center for Medicare Advocacy, including:

If your hospital keeps you on observation but you cannot take care of yourself when you’re discharged, ask if your doctor will order in-home care rather than release you to a nursing home. Medicare should pick up costs for in-home care if you are homebound. In-home care should be set up before you leave the hospital as part of your safe discharge plan.

Another tip the paper mentions is to ask the hospital to change your status if you find out you’re being held for observation—but the hospital doesn’t have to oblige.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Veterans Sue Retirement Community for Alleged Deceptive Practices

September 3, 2013

A retirement community deceptively enticed some veterans and their spouses to move into units they couldn’t afford, claim four residents in a lawsuit they’ve filed in Oregon.

According to Courthouse News Service, the plaintiffs allege that Holiday Retirement told them they’d “receive Aid and Attendance benefits from the VA within a short period of time and in an amount that would substantially offset the rents charged by Holiday.”

“Despite portraying that it was neutral in the application process, Holiday falsely represented that there was an increased likelihood of approval for Aid and Attendance benefits merely by moving into a Holiday residence. In addition, Holiday staff or agents promised to assist in processing plaintiffs’ applications, assured plaintiffs their applications would be approved in a timely manner, and offered incentives or discounts to supposedly bridge the financial gap between their income and the promised Aid and Attendance benefits. Some plaintiffs were referred to and required to pay attorneys or other professionals selected by Holiday to process their application,” according to the complaint.

The article doesn’t talk about Holiday Retirement’s defense. To learn more about how the Aid and Attendance approval process actually works, click here.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Legal Option When You Need Time Off Work for Caregiving

September 2, 2013

Labor Day turns our thoughts to working caregivers. More and more people are juggling jobs with caring for aging parents, and employers are taking notice, reports Houston BizBlog.

Nonetheless, not all companies provide help for employees who need to take off work for caregiving. But, “Even if a company doesn’t offer much flexibility, there are some options,” the blog points out.

The Family Medical Leave Act is usually associated with leave related to the birth or adoption of a child, but it also applies to employees who need to take time off — up to 12 weeks — to cake for sick or elderly parents.

While the law ensures a person is able to take the time away from work, it does not mean the employee will be paid. In addition, the FMLA applies only to companies with 50 or more employees.

The posts suggests talking with your employer to figure out all your options.

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Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Residents Give Advice for Affording Continuing-Care Retirement Community

August 30, 2013

Continuing-care retirement communities are known to be expensive. They often have not just high monthly fees but also large entrance fees. Nonetheless, CCRCs, which offer independent living along with long-term care when you need it, may be affordable to more people than you think, some residents say.

At The Best Life, residents of a CCRC in Maryland offer various tips for prospective CCRC residents. One point they make is these communities are accessible to more than just rich people:

While the recession made some families think twice about spending extra to move mom or dad to a CCRC, the residents say the costs are reasonable. “There’s a mistaken impression that people can’t afford this,” says Ginny Lance, 82.

For a two-earner couple who own a home, entrance to a CCRC may be affordable by selling the residence to generate the membership fee, and then using Social Security to fund monthly expenses. That’s not true for everyone, but it illustrates that CCRCs can work for some middle-class budgets.

The interviewed residents were also planners, the post says. They knew what they wanted early on and planned for it financially. And they recommend visiting many CCRCs before choosing one. (View CCRCs across the country here.)

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

Ask Retirement Community Financial “What Ifs” Before Moving In

August 29, 2013

When evaluating retirement communities, you’ll want to ask them a lot of questions—many not about amenities and activities but about finances.

Some of those questions—financial and not—are covered in “What to Look For When Shopping For a Retirement Community” at The Best Life blog. As you may have heard elsewhere, you should ask things like how much various things will cost you and about the community’s finances. But also, the blog advises, ask what happens if your own finances get tight.

Many [continuing care retirement communities] have some charitable arm to help residents continue to stay in the community even if they run into financial difficulties. Ask a community some “what if” questions and learn what would happen if personal financial difficulties occurred.

The post also recommends keeping taxes in mind since some of the fees may be tax deductible.

Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in health and aging issues. She covers finding and paying for senior care for OurParents. If you have any questions about this post or need help finding senior-care options for a loved one, call 1-866-483-4896 to speak with a care advisor in your area.

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