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Recent Changes to Medicare and Home Care

Live in care has continued to rise in recent years because of the increasingly expensive costs of nursing home facilities. Live in care, on the other hand, has seen only small steady rises. As such, it has become a cheaper alternative for elder care that allows for both flexibility and independence. Yet despite its cheaper costs, it may not always be incredibly cheap.

Medicare and Live-in Care in the Past

A major help for those seeking elder care has been Medicare. Medicare still shoulders a large portion of the cost of live in care, but since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the group has drastically changed how long elder care patients can seek financial help.

Medicare was originally responsible for long-term elder care, but after the high costs associated with keeping up this kind of support reached ever higher, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 act was passed to put a cap on how long patients could receive financial support for live in care. The limit on aid from Medicare has now been limited to 60 days, although the average length of stay in home care is 41.5 days.

In 2000, Medicare covered about 90% of the cost of home agency services, which came out to $8.7 billion. Despite this high figure, prior to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 this figure was roughly double that cost.

Medicare and Live in Care: The Present

Since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Medicare now operates using a prospective payment system.  Patients are allocated an certain amount for live in care depending on the kind of elder care they need, and this money is available for a period of up to 60 days. After this period, seniors typically need to cover the expense either through private insurance or out of pocket.

Medicare money is normally issued to short-term rather than long-term live in care because these cases have a much greater likelihood for a cure. With long-term care, where the focus is more on maintaining quality of life, Medicare often is unwilling to allocate funds.  

The good news is that, while the cost of institutional long term care has continued to go up, the cost of live in care has managed to rise at a slower rate. With rising institutional costs and Medicare only available for a short period of time, live in care can ensure that patients or their caregivers shoulder less of a financial burden.

Please be sure to leave a comment below if you found this article helpful or if you have unanswered questions! If you'd like to find out more, then request info from an agency near you!