Nursing Home Care Plans: Saving Money on Care of a Loved One

I recently encountered an elderly man who faced the dilemma of placing his wife into a long term care facility or a nursing home. Because he was not familiar with the financial dynamics of funding available for these facilities, he was placed in a difficult situation in which property was sold and assets where cashed in to support the cost of care of his wife.

In the United States, many senior adults and families face the often complex financial issues involving nursing home care. Navigating these complex programs is often an issue that becomes so burdensome that many families lose opportunities to secure effective and adequate care for their loved one. When searching for a nursing home facility, first address the fees associated with the nursing home and then look to options, such as life insurance and property sale, to support the services absolutely necessary for your loved one.

In the nursing home setting, there are three general types of services or plans provided. First, an all-inclusive nursing facility will provide unlimited nursing care in any location at any time of day. Often, this is the most expensive type of nursing home service and should only be considered when your loved one requires care 24 hours per day.

As a step down from the all-inclusive nursing plan, many nursing homes offer what is known as modified nursing services. Under this contract agreement, your loved one will be provided nursing services subject to a limited number of days per year. Often these contracts allow for a specific allotment of days based on your loved one’s physician recommendation, usually 30 to 90 days per year. This is not to say that your loved one can not receive medical care when needed. Instead, as a less expensive plan, the modified care plan will allow your loved one with nursing home services around the clock but specific nursing care limited to a certain number of days per year and then a fee assessed when these days are exceeded.

The least expensive of all plans involves the fee-for-service nursing care. Under this contract your loved one will remain in the nursing home and will receive 24 hour support services. However, specific, individualized nursing care is limited to only services on an “as needed” basis and, thus, a fee is charged per visit.

As with my neighbor, understanding the dynamics of nursing care services, and variable plans offered by nursing home facilities, may have provided a greater financial relief when the time came to place his wife into a nursing facility. Unfortunately, without this information, may neighbor was coerced into placing his wife into a nursing home, with all-inclusive services, when these services were not generally required. As a result, he was forced to sell real estate and assets to pay for this unnecessary care.

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