Financial Planning for Caregivers
Investigating Long- and Short-Term Disability Insurance
If your loved one is not working, he or she may want to apply for disability coverage through Social Security. If he or she does not qualify for Social Security, check to see if the state where he or she lives has a state-run disability program. Not all states have a program, and for those that do, programs often differ from state to state. To find out more, contact your state's Health and Human Services department. You can also get information on your state's web site.
If your loved one's total income is below a certain level, he or she may qualify for federally subsidized Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If an individual collects SSI, he or she is a candidate for Medicaid regardless of age. Information about SSI may be found on line at www.ssa.gov/ssi.
What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program providing healthcare benefits to Americans 65 and older, as well as to some disabled individuals under age 65, and people of any age with permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplant. Eligibility for Medicare is linked to Social Security and railroad retirement benefits.
Medicare has co-payments and deductibles. A deductible is an initial amount the patient is responsible for paying before Medicare coverage begins. A co-payment is a percentage of the amount of covered expense the patient is required to pay.
What Are Medicare's Coverage Options?
Medicare has several parts.
Part A Medicare covers hospital bills and includes:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Skilled nursing facility care (not custodial or long-term care)
- Home health services, including a visiting nurse, or a physical, occupational, or speech therapist
- Blood that you receive at a hospital or skilled nursing facility during a covered stay
- Medical supplies
- Hospice services
- Mental health care given in a hospital
Part B Medicare deals with doctors' bills and includes:
- Doctor charges and preventive services
- Medically necessary ambulance services
- Physical, speech, and occupational therapy
- Home health care services (physician certification is necessary)
- Medical supplies and equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, and walkers
- Transfusion of blood and blood components provided on an outpatient basis
- Outpatient medical/surgical supplies and services
- Outpatient mental health