Medicare is a great national health insurance program that was created in 1966 by the federal government. While the program is utilized by millions of people throughout the United States, it is important to know that Medicare is an acute care system. This means that In the majority of instances, Medicare will not pay for long term care.


How many seniors are using Medicare? According to AARP, “44 million beneficiaries—some 15 percent of the U.S. population—are enrolled in the Medicare program. Enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030. Only one in 10 beneficiaries relies solely on the Medicare program for health care coverage.” 


What exactly is long term care and what is the relationship to Medicare? Medicare itself shares “long-term care is a range of services and support for your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather help with basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called activities of daily living.” Unfortunately for seniors who need this type of care the reality is that Medicare will not pay for this type of long term care.  In order for Medicare to pay the care must be categorized as “medically necessary” or as short term care such as physical therapy. Medicare will help for a limited time with nursing home services after a qualifying hospital stay.


If the Medicare program does not include paying for the majority of long term care needs, what can you and your family do? There are three steps that need to be taken right away. First, determine the type of care that is needed. Long term care needs are not the same for every person. While there may not be a need for 24 hour skilled care, there may be a need for in home assistance in housekeeping or in preparing meals. Second, find a provider who can give the care that is needed. It is crucial that the long term care be provided by a trusted person or company. Third, you need to find a way to pay for the care.


Now is the time to plan for long term care!  Begin to study and understand what kind of plan you may need to put in place for long term care. Our firm helps seniors and their families every day to accomplish their long term care goals.  We want to help you not only get the care that you may someday need but assist you in developing a long term care plan and the ability to fund this plan.  Does this article raise even more questions for you? We are here to answer them for you. Contact us through our website or call us at (715) 843-5001 to schedule an appointment with Attorney Alan Hougum.