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How to Pay for Senior Care

Seniors want to stay in their homes rather than go to a nursing home but it is often difficult because of the cost of in-home care. It is essential to pre-plan so that you have the resources to make this happen. Here are the common ways to pay for senior care in the Indianapolis area.

Privately Paying

Privately paying for care in means paying for care out of your own income, investments, savings and assets.

Long-term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance will help pay for in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care. This is the most appropriate and needed form of insurance protection available to us today. Long-term care insurance should be termed “lifestyle” insurance (it’s NOT just nursing home insurance!). If your vision of your later years includes sitting at home in your own recliner, with your own remote control, watching your own TV…well, you should be planning for that future with long-term care insurance.

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages have become one of the most popular and accepted way of paying for many different expenses, including the cost of long-term care. Reverse mortgages are designed to keep seniors at home longer. A reverse mortgage can pay for in-home care, home repair, home modification, and any other need a senior may have.

VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit:

This is a little known benefit is available to Veteran’s and their spouses, who served at least 90 days, with one during wartime pay for personal care when needed, either in-home or in an assisted living. This benefit is paid for their lifetime and is tax free. Veteran’s receive $1656, spouse $1056 or $1949 combined. Do not attempt to complete this application alone or with the help of many VA staff. There are nuances that they won’t tell you about that once addressed gets you approved. See a Veteran’s Benefits Consultant. For more information visit www.veteransaidandattendancebenefit.org .

Life Insurance/Life Settlement

Some insurance companies offer long term care additional riders for life insurance policies. Other options may enable you to use your life insurance policy to help pay for long term care. Accelerated death benefits and viatical settlements (selling your policy to a third party) provide payments lower than the full value of the policy, but can make sense for those who are terminally ill or in poor health. A life settlement essentially sells your life insurance policy for its present value—often a wise choice for those who no longer need or want a policy.

Government assistance through Medicaid

Government assistance through Medicaid is available for those who cannot afford to pay for care. Currently it is easier to qualify for Medicaid when needed for nursing home care than it is for in-home care. Qualifications are based on income, expenses and assets however there are allowable exemptions to help qualify for Medicaid without spending down all your assets. There is a five year look back on all assets so it is important that you not transfer any assets or property without the guidance of an Elder Law Attorney, who specializes in Medicaid. There are many strategies used to qualify for Medicaid which you should examine with an Elder Care Consultant. For in-home care there is the Medicaid Wavier program however there is currently a waiting list. Central Indiana Council on Aging administers another state and federal program called CHOICE which is not based on your income or assets but you must be able to qualify for nursing home level of care but want to remain in your home. They offer meal delivery, transportation, homemaker services and attendant care. Often there is a waiting list for this program as well.


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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide