In the United States, the average life expectancy has almost doubled over the last century. While advances in medicine and science now allow us to live much longer, a way to stop the natural aging process has yet to be discovered. The combination of a longer life expectancy coupled with the physical and mental effects of the natural aging process increase the likelihood that you will need nursing home care or in-home care at some point during your retirement years. Like most seniors, you probably prefer to remain in your own home for as long as possible; however, to do that you may need help that family members cannot provide. While less than nursing home costs, the cost of in-home care can be prohibitive for the average person. Will Medicaid help with home health care? The attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP explain the Medicaid rules relating to home healthcare in Illinois.
Will You Need Additional Care?
Until the elusive “Fountain of Youth” is finally discovered, we must all accept that fact that our bodies will eventually begin to deteriorate as will our mental capacity for many of us. For some, living with an adult child or other family member is all the additional care that is needed; however, that is not always an option nor is it always enough. The majority of seniors eventually need the type of care that family members simply cannot provide. Because the odds are good that you will eventually need additional care beyond that which can be provided by loved ones, it is best to plan accordingly for the cost of that care.
Alternatives to Long-Term Care
Relocating to a nursing home, or other long-term care (LTC) facility may eventually become necessary; however, most seniors would prefer to prolong the need to leave their family homes for as long as possible. Fortunately, in-home health care is a growing business these days across the nation. For many seniors who need more intensive care than can be provided by loved ones, but who are not yet at the point where LTC is required, home healthcare is a perfect middle ground. Home healthcare brings a certified nurse or healthcare worker to the patient’s home to help with things such as therapy, administration of medication, and the daily tasks of living, such as bathing and even cooking.
The Cost of Care
Of course, both LTC and home healthcare are provided at a hefty price. Nationwide, the average cost of a month in LTC in 2016 was $6,500. Home healthcare is not as costly as LTC, but it is usually more expensive than what the average person can afford to pay out of pocket. Moreover, you cannot count on Medicare nor private health insurance to cover LTC or home healthcare as this type of care is often excluded from coverage.
Will Illinois Medicaid Cover Home Healthcare?
The good news is that the Illinois Medicaid program may cover home healthcare expenses for individuals who qualify for benefits. Qualifying for benefits, however, can be challenging – particularly if you failed to plan ahead by including Medicaid planning in your comprehensive estate plan.
Illinois has a program specific aimed at helping seniors with healthcare costs. Known as the Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD) program, it may help pay for LTC, a supportive living facility (SLF), or home healthcare for seniors over the age of 65. Home health care can include skilled nursing or therapy services, home health aide services like medication management or bathing assistance, and personal care aide services like meal preparation or cleaning. For the AABD program to cover home healthcare services, those services must be prescribed by your doctor as part of a plan of care for a particular problem, and the services must be directed at curing or rehabilitating you. Long-term services are not covered, such as housekeeping, under the AABD program; however, the AABD program will help cover the cost of a home health care agency, a physical therapist, speech therapist, or an occupational therapist if you meet the income and asset requirements and all other Medicaid eligibility guidelines.