How much will Medicare pay for nursing home care?

QUESTION: How much will Medicare pay for nursing home care?

ANSWER BY RICK COURTNEY:

I was recently asked, how much will Medicare pay for nursing home care for my mother?  And I had to tell that person not much.

Here's what Medicare pays for nursing home care.  If mother was in the hospital for three days and entered a nursing home after that, Medicare will pay for the first 20 days in full in the nursing home.  Medicare will pay part of the next 80 days, days 21 through a hundred, but there is a copayment that Mom has to pay during that 80 days.  And if she's got a Medicare supplement insurance that policy would pay that co-pay for her.

So Medicare plus a Medicare supplement insurance would pay the first hundred days in a nursing home, but that's all.  There is no more Medicare for nursing home care after that.  Medicaid is the primary payer of nursing home care in the country, and in Mississippi.  And Medicaid would pay for Mom's care in a nursing home once she no longer has Medicare payments as long as she has less than $4,000 of countable assets.

Now they don't count your house, your automobiles, your household contents and furnishings.  Most of the time IRA and 401(k) accounts do not count.  But other money assets would count.  Nonresident's land would count.  If those assets totaled more than $4,000, then Mom would not be eligible for Medicaid to help pay.

For a married couple there is a higher amount of assets that the community spouse could keep, the at-home spouse could keep and still have that other spouse in the nursing home qualify for Medicaid.  And that is planning we do every day for families who need Medicaid help to pay for nursing home care.