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Medicare and Long-Term Care

It may come as a surprise to you that Medicare covers very little of the cost associated with long-term care services. Here are some facts:
  • In order to qualify for Medicare support, an individual must spend at least three days in a hospital before entering a nursing home.

  • Medicare only covers nursing home stays of up to 100 days, and only if skilled nursing care, such as administering intravenous drugs, is required.

  • Even then, only the first 20 days are fully covered. After that, a daily copayment of $114 is charged for days 21 through 100 (in 2005).

  • In order to be eligible for coverage, you must demonstrate that the care you are receiving is resulting in an improvement in your condition.

In short, although Medicare does cover some skilled care services that may be delivered in a nursing facility or in the home, it does not cover long-term help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Yet, most long-term care is sought to assist individuals in carrying out these activities.




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