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What programs do not pay for long-term care?

Most of the financing options that people think of first actually do not pay for long-term care.

  • Your private health insurance does not pay for most long-term care.
  • Disability insurance - even long-term disability - does not pay for long-term care and it typically only covers you until you are 65. It replaces your income from wages while you are unable to work because of disabilities. Benefits end when you are able to work again.
  • Some people think Medicare pays for long-term care. Medicare covers short-term care following an acute illness or hospital stay. This care, no more than 100 days, is often provided in a nursing home, but can also be provided in your own home. Private Medicare health plans follow the same limited rules.
  • Medicaid (called Medical Assistance in Minnesota) is a major payer of long-term care services. However, people become eligible for Medical Assistance only after they spend down most of their resources paying for health and long-term care or have very limited income and assets. You should not depend on Medicare or Medical Assistance as your plan to pay for long-term care expenses. Eligibility and benefits for both these programs are subject to change at any time.

Most people will use their own income and rely on family or friends for long-term care when they first need help. When family, friends or volunteers no longer meet your needs, you will need to pay for care provided by agencies and facilities.

Paying for long-term care does not have to threaten your financial well-being, erode an inheritance or impose a burden on loved ones. There are financial options available to help pay for this care.

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