A nursing home should never tell you that you need to hire your own private aide.
"The home is required to provide all necessary care. If you need extra help, administrators are obligated to provide it.”—Eric Carlson, directing attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center
• “Nursing homes certified for Medicare and Medicaid are not supposed to discriminate based on ability to pay. But they’re allowed to take only people for whom they can provide adequate care. So if you say your mother can afford only one month of private pay, and someone else says he can do private pay for six months, who do you think they’re going to take?” —Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
• “People don’t realize that Medicare does not cover most nursing home stays, just acute-illness episodes [after hospitalization] up to 100 days. If your loved one needs anything more than that, she’s paying out of pocket, almost $90,000 a year—basically until she’s poor and qualifies for Medicaid.”—Richard L. Peck
• “Long-term-care insurance can make sense, but, unfortunately, it’s best to buy it in your 40s, when you have kids to support, college tuition to save for, and the inevitable home and car payments. By the time you really start thinking about it and you’re around 60, you’re talking about $3,000 a year in premiums or more. And then it really pays only $150 a day, which often is not adequate.”—Richard L. Peck
• “In some states, a nursing home can say, ‘We have 100 beds, and we want only 20 of them to be in the Medicaid program.’ So if you run out of money, and those 20 beds are full, you may have to leave, even though you’re in a Medicaid- certified facility. So as you get closer to the time when you need to apply for Medicaid, talk to staff about whether there will be a bed available.”—Robyn Grant