Does Health Insurance Cover Alzheimer’s Care?

Does Health Insurance Cover Alzheimer’s Care?

Most of us worry about the state of our medical insurance. Will we be covered when we need it, and will we be able to access the treatment we really need? These worries are especially troubling in the face of Alzheimer’s, which often requires expensive long-term care.

Does Health Insurance Cover Alzheimer’s Care?

Government Insurance

Medicare will pay for some parts of medical care, but there are serious limits, and it does not pay for any long-term nursing home care or for hiring an aide to help around the home.

Medigap plans offer more coverage, depending on which plan you choose. They will also supplement some of the copayments and deductibles of Medicare. For those already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Medicare Special Needs Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans are available that specifically offer coverage for those facing a dementia diagnosis.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is designed specifically to cover the costs of custodial care, but it’s important to remember a few caveats. Some long-term care policies actually exclude Alzheimer’s entirely, so it is important to carefully read through the terms of any policy before buying.

All policies have exclusions and limits. These could include limits on the care settings they will reimburse for, limits over the lifetime of the policyholder, or maximum limits per day or month. Finally, remember that you will not be able to get a long-term insurance policy after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The time to get this insurance is before you have a diagnosis.

Disability Insurance

If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while still working and have a disability insurance plan, this will provide the income you can use for Alzheimer’s care. Employer-paid plans typically offer 60% to 70% of your gross working income, but they are also taxed like income.

If you have a private insurance plan, you choose the amount to be paid out in the event you are unable to work. These plans aren’t taxed as income, but, as with all policies, it’s smart to carefully read all the fine print before you buy.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

According to official estimates, there are just under six million people in the US suffering from Alzheimer’s. One in ten is over 65, and a third of those over 85 are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. How can you protect yourself from the disease itself, and from the costs associated with Alzheimer’s care? 

With Your Lifestyle And Habits

Researchers are still not sure what causes Alzheimer’s, and there are many factors at play. Some of these factors, like genetics, cannot be changed; but there are things we can do to protect our minds

Research has shown that regular physical activity can protect brain function. Keeping weight under control and staying mentally and socially active also seem to play a part in protecting the brain and cognitive function.

Researchers are still not sure what causes Alzheimer’s, and there are many factors at play. Some of these factors, like genetics, cannot be changed; but there are things we can do to protect our minds

Research has shown that regular physical activity can protect brain function. Keeping weight under control and staying mentally and socially active also seem to play a part in protecting the brain and cognitive function.

Watch For Symptoms

Knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s can help you know when to seek help for yourself or a loved one. Early intervention can dramatically slow cognitive decline and improve quality of life.

In addition to watching for symptoms, get regular checkups, preferably from the same doctor. When you have a long-standing relationship with the same healthcare professionals, you make it easier for them to notice any concerning cognitive changes.

Stay Covered

It’s important to keep up insurance coverage, especially as you age. If you allow coverage to lapse, this could make it more difficult to get an affordable policy later. Buying short term health insurance and always knowing your open enrollment period for buying insurance on the healthcare exchange or with Medicare will keep you covered.

Whatever policies you choose, always read the fine print. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get an insurance agent’s advice if you’re worried about Alzheimer’s coverage. With Alzheimer’s, safe is always better than sorry.