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Nursing home charges are based on a basic daily rate that includes a package of services provided by the facility. Some specialized services may be available, but must be purchased separately because they are not included in the basic package. Nursing home services may be financed in several ways, but the four most common methods are "private pay," Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance.

Persons who pay for nursing home care with personal resources are called "private pay" residents. People who pay for nursing home care out of their own pocket can expect to spend between $25,000 and $50,000 per year in charges. It is important to ask if a nursing home accepts Medicaid residents before you go through the admissions process. Even if you have enough money to pay for nursing home care now, there is always a chance that these resources may become depleted. If a nursing home does not accept Medicaid payments, you may be asked to leave if your money runs out.

Medicaid coverage of nursing home payments is available to people whose resources fall below a certain level, and to nursing home residents who have exhausted their personal resources paying for nursing home care. The Medicaid program is funded by the federal and state governments to provide services for the aged, blind, and disabled who are unable to cover these expenses themselves. Applicants must be citizens of the United States and must meet the required income and resource limitations. In order to receive Medicaid benefits, you must be "deemed" in need of assistance, with income, savings, and assets below a level determined by the state. The Medicaid program does allow for some assets and income to be "protected" in order to support a resident's spouse living in the community without losing nursing home benefits. When you go into a nursing home, you may transfer to your spouse, the titles to your home, car, furnishings, and an amount of money set by the state and still be eligible for assistance under Medicaid.

For more information, click here for Your Benefit Rights and Eligibility Information Under Medicaid

Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program for individuals over the age of 65. Medicare will pay for a portion of nursing home expenses for 100 days following a related hospitalization. Medicare will pay 100% of nursing home expenses for the first 20 days of care, but after the first 20 days of care, the resident is responsible to make a co-payment of 20%. In order to be eligible for Medicare nursing home benefits, residents must require skilled nursing services, such as physical therapy. Once skilled nursing services are no longer needed, Medicare coverage will be ended.

For more information, click here for Your Benefit Rights Under Medicare

Many insurance companies offer insurance policies that pay for certain nursing home expenses. One form of these insurance policies is called the "Medigap" program. "Medigap" insurance will pay for the nursing home co-payments required by Medicare during the 21st to 100th day of Medicare coverage. Another form of insurance for those in nursing homes is called long-term care insurance. These insurance policies cover a variety of services provided by nursing homes. Each long-term care insurance policy offers different benefits, thus they must be carefully examined before purchased.

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