Most, but not all, nursing homes (even private ones) will accept Medicaid patients. My mom started out paying her way, until her funds ran out. Then the nursing home took the SS check + her small pension (NYS employee for a relatively short time), and left $30 of "spending money" from that. Whatever else they got was from Medicaid. Not all nursing homes accept that arrangement. The county-run home would only take residents in that way: pay their way until funds run out. They would not accept patients who first went to a private nursing home & wanted to then go to the county home when funds were depleted. And the county nursing home cost the same as the private one!
So, indeed, Medicaid does end up paying for many of the elderly.
As a result of this, I acquired long-term care insurance several years ago. I didn't get "THE" best policy offered, but it did have a graduated increment in the daily allowance. Still not sure that will be enough to cover the costs if I should need to use it. Medicare covers some nursing home costs, but of a very limited nature.
I still haven't quite figured out why nursing homes cost as much as they do, since medical costs involved with care are still covered by Medicare.
I think the reason that more elderly end up in nursing homes now is that so many families are 2-income households; or a divorce has taken place. In the case of divorce, someone has to continue to work to provide an income for housing. There is Meals on Wheels to help; and some visiting nurse services and "home aids", but when you have a very elderly person in the house, you simply cannot leave them alone for long periods unsupervised.
Medicaid, unlike Medicare was establishes to take care of those that don't have the money to take care of themselves. When one begins on Medicaid, all assets except for that persons home must be used before Medicaid will begin coverage. At death, there is an "estate recovery" clause in the Medicaid Law that allows the state the rights to the home recovering part of the the state's expenses. The gov will go back 7 years on all buisness records of the resident to make sure assets were not illegally taken by the family.
The system is trillions in the hole as there has been wide scale theft by families as well as by providers.
Regardless of the funds or lack of funds a person has to care for the elderly loved one please anyone that must make the choices for the elderly loved one do serious research on facilities as they are not all created equal. Don't just take a 15 minute tour. Find a way to visit on different days and at different times. I have working therapy dogs and visit such places on a regular basis. I quit going to one that happens to be 5 minutes from the house after an incident. NO way I was ever going back. A patient was yelling for help because they were bleeding. THe blood was pooling on the floor, no reponse form staff and I went to the closest station to notify them. The words that came out of someones mouth were enough for me to pull my dog. They actually at first said it wasn't their "zone". Really? someone is bleeding and the blood is pooling on the floor and they were going to ignore the situation because that room was not in their zone.
Yes, Carly, the SS check/pension did NOT equal the amount the nursing home was getting at "full price". The full price had been around $3000/mo. I was not privy to what Medicaid paid over and above her SS/pension. I figured it was less than the $3000, but something above her SS/pension. So, Medicaid did pay something, though it may not have been as much for her as for someone who had no SS/pension to contribute. I paid separately for some other services, like dental care.
She had no home or significant assets. She had to cash in her small life insurance policy as well. She was allowed to establish a "burial fund account" that was only payable to the funeral home handling the funeral & burial. I think there was a limit on the amount allowed for the burial account. Since she had no spouse or home, those factors did not come into play. This was almost 20 years ago, now, and even back then, a simple funeral/burial cost over $7,000. ( & she already owned her burial plot).
My sister put my Mother in a nursing home even though I had told her not to do so without informing me first. Crying, she called me begging for me to come and get her. I hired sitters 8 hours a day Saturday-Thursday and 12 hrs on Friday. I had her to myself the rest of the time. Being wheelchair bound, I would get up in the night about 3 times to put her socks and shoes on and get her into a wheelchair to go to the bathroom. I did have enough personal time to work and run errands which also included getting her doctors and taking her to her appts. I even got to go fishing with a friend occasionally. My other sister did come up from Florida to let me go back home to deal with my farms. I left at 4 am and was back home by midnight. The trip was about 400 miles. The truly sad part was that she, having no friends here, became so unhappy that she wanted to go back home into a nursing home. She died in 2004, one month shy of 90. My last visit was truly sad. When she passed I received a phone call.
The good thing about these posts is to see that many people do what they can to see that their loved ones live their last days with as much quality of life and only wish that they could have done more.
Being a "Primary Care-Giver" is the single most challenging thing I have ever undertaken, twice.
Also the most rewarding.
Having said that, as long as I am able, no family member goes into an assisted care facility.
They come here!
Although, most are gone now.
In my case, I'll go to the VA Center if that's the way it ends up.