Senior health plans such as Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, and Medicare Advantage plans do not pay for long term care, either in a home setting or a nursing home. That leaves families to figure out what to do. Probably one day, sooner or later, we will all be faced with caring for the elderly people in our lives.  I can tell you from experience that it is a very important responsibility.  One that must be carried out with thoughtfulness and great respect for the wishes of our loved one.  Humans are creatures of habit and routine.  As we age those habits and routines are even more ingrained.  Most people, if it can be avoided, would prefer not to end their days in a hospital or a nursing home.  They want to be in their own homes.

Another thing senior Health Plans do not pay for is long term home care givers.  In-home nursing care will be provided by Medicare after a hospital stay if ordered by a physician.

That type of in-home nursing care does not provide anything other than short term nursing care, sort of like checkups every few days.  Any other type of long term care must be paid for privately, or with the benefits from a long term care insurance policy.

What typically happens is that a family member with a life threatening disease or illness can no longer care for themselves by themselves.  The family makes a decision to care for that person at home but they need help.  Mayo Clinic has an excellent article entitled “Home care services: Questions to ask”.

Qualifications for a home care services agency

Is the agency licensed by the state?  Certified by Medicare?

What type of employee screening is done?  Ask for references.

If you’re considering a home health aide:

What are the aide’s credentials training and experience?

Take time to check the aides references thoroughly.

Quality of care

If you’re considering a home care services agency:

How does the agency hire and train caregivers?  Does the agency provide continuing education?

Are the caregivers licensed and insured?

How closely does the agency’s supervisor evaluate the quality of home care?

If you’re considering a home health aide:

Does the home health aide have a positive attitude?

Are you and your loved ones comfortable with the home health aide?

Costs

If you’re considering a home care services agency:

Ask for literature explaining all services and fees.

What insurance plans, if any, do they accept?

Is a payment plan available?

If you’re considering a home health aide:

How much does the aide charge for home health services?  Clarify how many sick and vacation days are allowed and which days are considered holidays.

Monitor your home care services

After you’ve found a home care services provider, monitor the situation.

Medicare Advantage

butn