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How to Afford Senior Care: What happens when finances run out?

You and Your Aging Parents
You and Your Aging Parents

In the fall of 2012, Hebrew SeniorLife gathered together geriatric thought-leaders, researchers and physicians for our inaugural "You and Your Aging Parents" program, an important discussion about the steps one should take to help aging parents as they make decisions regarding health and well-being. Overwhelmingly positive response indicates the need for this information and Hebrew SeniorLife continues to offer this program. Check our events listing for upcoming events. 

In addition, we published expert advice from the first program in an ebook, 
“You and Your Aging Parents,” which Hebrew SeniorLife is offering as a free downloadable pdf. The discussion also inspired our “You and Your Aging Parents” blog series, a series that includes this blog post and covers the various issues and concerns you may encounter as you and your parent/s continue on the journey of aging.

What happens when finances for senior care run out?

This is an important topic that should be discussed with your selected provider’s fiscal or admissions office. Don’t assume that Medicare will cover all the care your parent receives in an institutional setting.  Understand what circumstances trigger Medicare to either fall short or stop coverage and whether supplemental long-term care insurance and/or Medicaid coverage can help cover the gap.

Read through all admissions and financial documents carefully, and ask questions. Make sure you understand how the facility is using terms like “guarantor” or “financially responsible party,” and identify any provisions that govern what the facility can and cannot do to a resident/patient who can no longer pay.  Look for information that explains what Medicare and/ or Medicaid will or will not cover and what types of senior services will result in additional fees or charges. It’s advisable to have the financial admission documents reviewed by a knowledgeable elder law attorney. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys website is a good resource for finding an elder law attorney. 

Make sure commitments made to you are in writing. Ask for the contact information of the marketing employee with whom you’re speaking, and follow up with a confirmatory letter or email restating what was discussed. Having commitments in writing is helpful should the individual leave the company, or if there is a change in management or ownership.

To download your copy of our “You and Your Aging Parent” ebook, visit our website, www.agingredefined.org.

Rachel Lerner, Esq.'s picture

About the Blogger

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Hebrew SeniorLife

Rachel Lerner is responsible for managing all legal and compliance affairs across Hebrew SeniorLife.  She oversees HSL’s Compliance Program and counsels the organization on a diverse array of legal issues that arise from HSL’s healthcare, housing, research and teaching operations.  Rachel has spent her entire career working with healthcare and senior living organizations.  After earning her law degree from New York University School of Law, she worked for a number of years as a healthcare transactional and regulatory attorney in a national law firm.  She then served as Associate General...

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