Q: I have been talking with friends about the cost of nursing home care, and we differ on how these costs can be covered. Can you shed some light?
A: About half of all nursing home residents start out by paying costs out of their personal resources. As these resources decrease, those who have long stays eventually become eligible for Medi-Cal assistance. Medi-Cal, a state and federal program, will pay most nursing home costs for patients with very limited income and assets. Medi-Cal will, however, only cover the costs of nursing home care in a Medi-Cal-certified facility.
Many incorrectly believe

Medicare and supplemental insurance will cover the costs of nursing home care. Under certain conditions, Medicare will pay for some costs for beneficiaries who need skilled care or physical or speech therapy. To be covered, they must meet strict qualifications, and even then, coverage is for a limited time. Medicare never covers custodial care.
Long-term-care insurance is a private insurance that can be bought to cover the cost of care. Generally only relatively healthy people qualify. Usually premiums are based on age, Therefore, the younger you are when you buy coverage, the lower the premiums will be.
Some people may have these costs covered or partially covered by managed-care plans or employer benefit packages.
Q: In past years, Senior Concerns has presented seminars that have been helpful to seniors, their families and caregivers. Do they plan to continue this service?
A: Yes. The 2014 series, “A Path to Positive Aging,” will start this month and continue through November, with the months of July and August dark.
The first presentation will be “Creative Housing Choices in the Second Half.” It will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.
The seminar will cover how life transitions can affect housing needs, what options are available, how home modification and in-home care fit in to decision-making and what is important to those making the decisions.
Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 497-0189. Free respite care is available for seniors with special needs with an advance reservation

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