Medicare Info

Medicare is one of the most frequent methods of paying for short term nursing home care. Medicare is a federal health insurance program which helps defray many of the medical expenses of most Americans over the age of 65. Medicare offers a rehabilitation benefit in order to help people transition from a medical event back to their home. Heddington Oaks prides itself in their Rehab to Home program, helping people recover from a joint replacement or other ailment and getting back to their daily lives at home.

Many people assume that Medicare or their insurance will pay for long-term nursing home care. They are usually wrong. Medicare pays for no more than the first 100 days of nursing home care, and it has many other restrictions so that many people entering a home almost never receive full benefits. Most residents' health care insurance stops when Medicare coverage stops. Unless your mother has unusually good long term care insurance, she is likely to end up paying for her nursing home care out of her own pocket or with Medicaid.

Under Medicare the first 20 days may be covered in full. From days 21-100, Medicare will pay a portion of the cost of care if you continue to require skilled services. You must pay part of the cost, call the co-pay, of your stay. In 2017, the co-pay per day was $146.50. These days will be covered only if the person was in the hospital three midnights immediately before entering the nursing home and the resident needs certain skilled care, or if treatments are showing improvement in the individual's condition so continuation of treatment is valuable. Medicare stops paying when the treatments ends or the 100 days are used.

For more information on Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov.

What Medicare Pays For

For Medicare to pay for any part of your mother's nursing home care, she must:

  • have been hospitalized (this does not mean "kept in observation") for at least 3 days; and
  • go into a nursing home that is in the Medicare program, no more than 30 days after leaving the hospital; and
  • need nursing home care for the same reason as the hospitalization; and
  • need what Medicare calls "skilled care."

Medicare pays for part or all of up to 100 days a year of what it calls "skilled care." What Medicare means by "skilled care" is:

  • she is on oxygen; or
  • she has an IV or feeding tube; or
  • she needs daily injections, daily wound care or other skilled care; 
  • she needs daily physical, occupational or speech therapy. Medicare is supposed to pay for her care if she needs daily therapy either to improve or maintain her ability to function; or
  • her medical condition is so unstable that she needs to be monitored by a registered nurse. For example, she might be on a new medication and need to have daily blood tests for her doctor to decide on the right dosage, or have her condition closely watched to make sure the medication is not harming her, or need her blood sugar levels monitored.

Medicare will pay for your mother's doctor's visits, and care by other medical professionals such as her podiatrist. 

Medicare has copayments and deductibles for some days of care for which it pays.

Medicare Part B

Part B Medicare will also pay for some physical, occupational and speech therapy for nursing home residents, including residents whose daily care is not being paid for by Medicare. Part B is not supposed to pay for therapy which is covered as part of the daily nursing home rate.