Common Long-Term Care Planning Misconceptions

Many people share common concerns as they reach retirement age: Will they have the ability to remain independent in their homes without intervention from others? Are they going to be able to maintain good health and receive adequate health care? Will they have enough money for everyday needs and not outlive their assets and income? Despite the fact that thousands of Americans are concerned with these aspects of aging, many have failed to develop adequate long-term care plans that specify which services they will need and how they will pay for them. Unfortunately, many Americans also share common misconceptions about long-term care planning that may be factors in why individuals fail to establish a properly executed long-term care plan prior to when they need the services. Continue reading “Common Long-Term Care Planning Misconceptions”

New York Implements New Home Health Aide Law

On December 2, 2016 Governor Cuomo signed a bill which will increase the level of care that the nearly 300,000 home health aides across the state will be able to provide. If a home health aide completes additional training, they will be able to administer medications and monitor equipment for people in need of professional care at home. With the need of home health aides continuing to grow, the possibility of further advancement may encourage more people to enter the profession. Continue reading “New York Implements New Home Health Aide Law”

Are Your Long-Term Care Expectations Realistic? Separating Fact from Fiction

Many Americans have taken the information provided by programs like Medicare as a catch-all to answer their financial questions, but are they right in assuming programs like these will take over the majority of their loved ones’ financial burden? Continue reading “Are Your Long-Term Care Expectations Realistic? Separating Fact from Fiction”

What is Managed Long-Term Care and What are My Available Options?

Managed long-term care is an option utilized by those who are disabled or chronically ill and need assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), but wish to remain within their homes and communities. Managed long-term care can be provided through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and managed long-term care plans.

PACE is a little-known Medicaid and Medicare program that provides comprehensive health care services to eligible members 55 years and older who are otherwise eligible to be admitted to a nursing home. PACE is available through 110 programs in the United States, eight of which are located in New York State.

According to AARP, PACE provides coverage of in-home care, checkups, doctor and dental services, hospital and nursing home stays, as well as prescription medication and some transportation. PACE is open to those enrolled in Medicaid and/or Medicare; some may need to pay a monthly premium based on coverage. All applicants are screened by a team of doctors, therapists and nurses who will determine whether an individual’s level of health and disability requires the level of care typically provided in a nursing home.

Managed long-term care plans provide long-term care services, such as home health care, nursing home care, ancillary and ambulatory services and are funded through Medicaid. Medicaid members can use their Medicaid and/or Medicare cards to pay for services rendered by their primary physicians. To be eligible for a managed long-term care plan, the individual must qualify for nursing home admission. Most enrollees must be 65 years or older to qualify for a managed long-term care plan; however, there are several plans in New York State that will accept younger applicants.

P&P Medicaid provides assistance to those who are seeking a home care program to meet their needs or the needs of their loved ones. We offer a comprehensive in-home assessment conducted by our case manager, who, with the assistance of a nurse, can help determine program eligibility. Together, the case manager, the client and their family caregivers can develop a comprehensive long-term care strategy that is reassessed on a regular basis.

For those seeking qualification for Medicaid, P&P Medicaid will handle the entire application and document acquiring process and appear on the applicant’s behalf for all interviews with the Department of Social Services (Medicaid). For more information about home care evaluation, Medicaid application or any of our other services, please call us at (516) 541-4770 for a consultation.

Are You Being Overprescribed?

Modern medicine is a marvel – it’s certainly one of the factors that has allowed human beings to develop new ideas and to flourish. The advent of hygiene helped us through the Dark Ages, literally. The discovery and understanding of germs decreased infant mortality rates. Penicillin nixed painful and often fatal infections. These discoveries, among many others, have helped us develop a complex medicinal treatment system which has saved countless lives. Medicine has even developed beyond survival and toward new goals of comfort, healing, and the extension of life. Today, it is prescribed for almost every thinkable ailment. But there comes a time to ask ourselves, “How much is too much?”

America is plagued by what some call an overtreatment epidemic, which particularly affects our most vulnerable – children, the disabled, and the elderly. Oftentimes, without the patient’s consent, potentially dangerous medications, such as antipsychotics and hypnotics, are prescribed, and since few would question the doctor’s orders, these patients could be taking pills they don’t need. No medication is without side effects, and it is usually in the patient’s best interest to be able to make an educated decision. A healthy dose of skepticism could be the right prescription: Is a blood pressure medication right for me if it causes me to faint? Do I really need to take steroids to control my asthma? Is it worth it to take a prescription just because it negates the serious side effects of another?

According to The New York Times, over 40 percent of people aged 65 and up take five or more medications, and, every year, nearly one-third of that percentage experiences a “serious adverse effect.” A panel of 11 geriatric care and pharmacology experts updated the Beers Criteria, guidelines whose purpose is to prevent or at least minimize drug-related catastrophes in senior citizens. The team commenced a review of more than 2,000 research studies of drugs prescribed for older adults and highlighted 53 potentially disastrous medications or classes of medication; with these figures in mind, The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society also published its own research on the subject in 2012.

The act of taking drugs itself can easily become overwhelming. Since it is frequently difficult to keep track of one’s medications, senior citizens are encouraged to utilize the Foundation for Health in Aging’s “drug and supplement diary” and to share the list with every health care provider they see. It is best to seek the expert advice of a doctor before making any long-term decisions that could affect your health.

If you are concerned for your well-being or the well-being of a loved one, consult the experts in geriatric care management. P&P Medicaid provides a full range of geriatric care management services to help individuals and their families make decisions about and oversee their long-term care needs. Please call P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. at (516) 541-4770 for more information.

The American Geriatrics Society Focuses on the Future of Elder Care

With an estimated 20 percent of the United States population accounting for those 65 and older by 2030, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is focusing on how to improve medical care in the geriatric community. One concern is the low number of doctors specializing in geriatric care. U.S. News and World Report-Health estimates that approximately 17,000 geriatricians are necessary to care for the growing elderly population, but that there is currently only about 7,500 or more certified in America.

One goal of AGC is to find additional funding to support medical students studying to be a geriatrician. One of the reasons why many graduating medical students choose other medical specialties is that private insurance has higher payouts. When it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, the reimbursement rates are lower. With high debt upon graduation, going into geriatrics may not be an option for new doctors. With more educational funding, the number of doctors entering the geriatric field is apt to increase.

Additionally, there is a focus on other skilled professional fields which care for the elderly. This includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, social workers, and home health care aids. Often these health care providers must work together to support an elderly individual who suffers from multiple chronic issues. With the elderly, often a more holistic approach is better because much of the medical care will focus on daily functionality, such as getting dressed and eating.

Understanding the options for an elderly loved one can be challenging. Applying for Medicaid and making sure necessary needs are covered can be a complex process. P&P Medicaid provides Medicaid application services. The company also provides a full range of geriatric care management services to help individuals and their families make decisions about and supervise their long-term care needs.  Please contact P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. at (516) 541-4770 for more information.

How New York Residents Can Choose a Long-Term Care Plan for Loved Ones

In caring for an elderly loved one, it can be challenging to choose whether an outside long-term care option is best, or to offer care from within the home. Often, financial burdens and how much Medicaid will cover becomes a main consideration. Medicaid can cover both nursing homes and home and community-based services. Planning ahead and knowing what factors to weigh when choosing a long-term care plan is vital to reduce the stress on your loved one as they start requiring more assistance.

First, it is important to compare what Medicaid will cover for both home-based care services and institutional services. Medicaid offices, which are state run, set out eligibility for specific benefits. Professional agencies can assist you in understanding your various options.

After narrowing down available options, if it is best for your loved one to enter long-term care at a nursing home facility, there are resources to help you find the best location. To research the quality of life at a nursing home, you can contact the New York State Department of Health. This is the agency which investigates complaints and oversees health and safety standards in nursing homes participating in Medicaid.

Once you have compared the quality of the nursing homes in a given area, it is important to visit them and make sure they meet the care needs you are searching for. Comparing each home’s policy, such as visiting hours, how the staff treats the patients, and types of activities available, are all important in choosing the right facility.

Instead of a nursing home facility, you may choose to care for your loved one at home. This may require modification to the home, such as handicapped bathrooms and ramps. Hiring nurses and therapy aids may also be necessary, unless community adult day care is a better option. Medicare may not cover all of the necessary costs for home health care, so it is important to research all alternatives. Another alternative is to have an assisted living facility care for your loved one. However, Medicaid does cover this type of care.

Understanding the options for long-term care for an elderly loved one can be challenging. Applying for Medicaid and making sure necessary needs are covered can be a complex process. P&P Medicaid provides Medicaid application services. The company also provides a full range of geriatric care management services to help individuals and their families make decisions about and supervise their long-term care needs.  Please contact P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. at (516) 541-4770 for more information.

Long Island Veterans to Face More Difficulties Securing Long-Term Care Assistance

With the baby boomer generation in the heart of retirement age, private resources to support older Americans have begun to feel the strain. Among these is the Veteran’s Administration (VA), which faces impending regulations that will make nursing care benefits available to even fewer veterans.

The administration currently offers a pension called Aid and Attendance (A&A), an underused resource that supplies those who have served and are current nursing home residents or require geriatric home care assistance. For the first time, new regulations will limit the services ONLY to those whose asset levels qualify and will impose a look-back period, restrictions on gift or transfers of assets that will subjugate violators to penalties.

The current income and assets of a veteran and their spouse currently determines eligibility for these benefits. The proposed regulations will set the amount at a limit of $119,220, with only homeowner properties of two-acres or less will be excluded from this evaluation. While this was the previous limit set for veteran’s spouses, the limit will now extend to both beneficiaries.  Similar to Social Security benefits, these VA benefits will be indexed based on inflation.

An applicant who transfers assets to a non-beneficiary within three years of applying for A&A will face a penalty period of up to 10 years, double for spouses, unless clear and convincing evidence can be proven that the transfer was not in the interest of qualifying for the program’s benefits.

An alternative to A&A is Medicaid, a state and federally funded health insurance program that pays for the medical care of people who have low income and resource levels, or for the elderly. Although we caution applicants that there are still strict rules regarding transfers of assets and limits of income, Medicaid regulations are much less stringent than the A&A rules.

P & P Medicaid is available to assist retirement-age veterans and their families apply for Medicaid, Aid and Attendance and other programs or services. P & P Medicaid handles everything in the application and document-acquiring processes and will appear on behalf of the applicant at a governmental agency. The company can also provide guidance in selecting home healthcare or nursing home placement options, along with assistance in applying to the long-term care facilities.

For more information on how to begin the Medicaid application process, call (516) 541-4770 or visit www.ppmedicaid.com.

Half the World’s Elder Population Lacks Long-Term Services

Most will agree with the statement that all people should have equal access to physicians, hospitals, and medical tests in their communities. Yet despite the world’s recognition of health care as a fundamental necessity, not everyone receives proper healthcare.

Recently, The International Labor Organization released findings that more than half of all people 65 and older in the world have no long-term health care. The 46 countries studied account for 80 percent of the world’s population of older people. The study brought to light the lack of protection for elderly people as well as a lack of industry caregivers.

According to the study, more than 300 million older adults require higher-level care and cannot access professional health services when needed. Despite the growing international demand for elderly long-term care, the report revealed that most countries are neglecting to meet their population’s needs with lack of funding and services.

The United States is no exception. The Commonwealth Fund reported that, out of 11 counties surveyed, the American Healthcare system ranked last in comparison. One of the most prevalent concerns revealed by the study was that that Americans over the age of 65 reported that high cost was the main reason they had skipped medical care or treatment. This finding is significant because Medicare is often thought of as free, universal health coverage for elderly Americans. Medicare, which is available to anyone over the age of 65 or to the certified disabled who have worked and paid into the Social Security system, differs from Medicaid.

Medicaid is a federally funded program run by states and local government, which provides medical insurance and long-term care for middle-to low-income persons, including the elderly and disabled. If one is eligible, based on income and resource restrictions, Medicaid will pay for all medical care (including doctors and hospitals), prescriptions, home care, nursing home care and other health care-related expenses. Medicaid is based on income and resource levels, and although anyone can apply, eligibility needs to be approved via an application process.

Many Americans who are eligible for Medicaid are unaware that these services are available to them or do not know how to begin the application process. P&P Medicaid is committed to helping people through this application and document-acquiring process and will appear on your behalf at all interviews with the Department of Social Services (Medicaid). P&P Medicaid utilizes its industry expertise and experience to expedite your application and to maximize the opportunity for success.

For further questions or to speak to a P&P Medicaid representative about Medicaid qualification call (516) 541-4770 or contact us by email.

Elder care costs continue to rise

Genworth Financial’s annual Cost of Care report, released on Thursday, April 9, 2015, shows that long term care costs continue to increase. Costs for elder care services such as an assisted living facility or a nursing home are dramatically rising, while costs for the services of a homemaker or home healthcare aide are increasing more gradually.

Over the past five years, the cost of care at an assisted living facility has increased 2.5 percent annually, while the cost for a private nursing home room has increased four percent annually. In 2015, the average annual cost for an assisted living facility is $43,200. As for a private nursing home room, it is $91,250.

To save money on long term care, homecare can be a less expensive alternative. For instance, homemaker costs and home healthcare aide services have only risen about 1.6 percent and one percent annually, respectively. The median hourly cost for a homemaker is $19.50, while the hourly cost for a home healthcare aide is $20.

If you have questions or concerns about long term care options for yourself or a loved one, contact P&P Medicaid Consulting at 516-541-4770. We assist in finding nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home healthcare aides, while advising our clients on ways to protect their income and financial resources.