Ensuring Long-Term Care for Alzheimer’s disease Author:    Posted under: Health InsuranceHealth Insurance questions answeredHealth Insurance Types


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which is characterized by the progressive loss of memory and other cognitive abilities.  In 2008, an estimated 5.2 million Americans suffer from this disease, affecting 1 out of 8, for those over 65.*

For those families who learn that their loved one is diagnosed with this disease, it can be a frightening experience.  To witness how your family member loses his capacity to know himself and do things on his own can be a heavy burden.  To add to this is that fact that finding someone to care for your loved one, and paying for long-term care, is also another worry that these families may have and experience.  The good thing about this is that health insurance is available from the federal government to support these afflicted families.

The United States government provides federally funded insurance in the form of Medicare.  It covers most of the costs for those over 65 years of age, for those under Medicare.  This means that it includes 100% of hospitalizations and 80% of non-hospital care.  Any treatment associated with mental health care such as doctor’s visits, physical and speech therapy, and skilled nursing home care, are also covered by Medicare.  There are, however, specific eligibility requirements for you to qualify, and a deductible also applies.

In the event that you are not eligible for Medicare coverage, you may turn to your human resources department in the office where you are employed, or where you were formerly employed, for the details they may have regarding the insurance policy of the company.  If you are not insured at all, you may also do some research with the help of the Alzheimer’s Association, for they have a list of those who provide insurance for the disease.  If, lastly, you cannot afford to get insurance, and your income is low, you may qualify for Medicaid.  This is also a federally funded insurance dedicated for those who cannot afford to pay.

Families are also encouraged to get supplemental insurance, because not all costs will be shouldered by Medicare.  This supplemental insurance is termed as Medigap insurance.  Private health insurance companies offer these insurance policies.  The conditions for Medigap are determined by state law.  These are the out-of-pocket expenses or deductibles associated with hospital stays, and the co-payment by the insured.  Families should also ensure that the supplemental health coverage that they will be getting for their loved one should include long-term care, for most private insurance policies don’t include coverage for nursing homes or assisted living care.  It should be noted, though, that if your family has a history of this chronic disease, and you are going to acquire the insurance at the point when they were diagnosed, you will likely be rejected by the company.  Make sure that you plan ahead if this is the case with your family.  Costs for Alzheimer’s treatment may run from $40,000 to $70,000, and may very well debilitate your family financially, if you are not prepared for this illness.

If you do not qualify for any of these insurance policies, there is also what we call disability insurance.  The downside to this, though, is that they will only accept new plans prior to any type of diagnosis.  You may also want to check the Social Security Disability Insurance.  This has strict eligibility requirements though, such as being a ‘qualified disable.’ ‘Disabled’ in their terms means that you cannot work at all, you cannot perform any other work because of the said disability, and the disability will last for a minimum of six months to a year.

Indeed, long-term financial planning is important to all families.  But, with the affliction of this kind of disease, planning is essential, so that each family will have not only the emotional readiness for this sickness, but also the financial capacity to handle the costs.

Sources:
* http://ezinearticles.com/?Medicare-Alzheimers-Coverage—Are-Nursing-Home-Costs-Covered?&id=1769740
http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/financial-planning
http://alzheimers.about.com/lw/Health-Medicine/Conditions-and-diseases/Paying-for-Alzheimers-Care-Public-and-Private-Insurance-Options.htm
http://ezinearticles.com/?Alzheimers—Discovering-the-Health-Insurance-Options&id=5067338
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

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