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New York - People who need long-term health care, for themselves or for an aging or severely disabled relative, often find themselves facing painful choices with little information about finances and little time to make a decision. The following is brief outline of options for long term care patients:

Medicare - is the Federal health care program for the elderly and severely disabled and pays for specific procedures deemed medically necessary.

  • At home - skilled nursing care deemed necessary by a doctor and provided by medical professionals. medicare doe not pay for services like help in dressing, eating or bathing.
  • In hospital - care for acute illnesses, hospitals do not generally provide long-term care.
  • After the hospital - skilled short-term nursing care in a center providing rehabilitation and other kinds of intensive therapy.
  • In a hospice - care for those with six months or less to live

Medicaid  - long-term care is generally covered by Medicaid but is limited to people with low incomes and assets of no more than about $2,000 (not including house and car). People with more money often enter nursing homes and reduce their assets so they can qualify.

Private Insurance- Long term care policies are available but can cost thousands of dollars a year for those over age 65. For that reason, private insurance pays less than 1% of the cost of nursing home care in the United States. You can contact the Assisted Living Federation of America at (703) 691-8100 which has a list of 50 questions to ask providers of care. The American Association of Retired Persons offers a number of publication on long-term care at (202) 434-6030.

If you are a long-term care patient, an independent Fee-Only financial adviser can help you work through the financial alternatives available to you. 

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