Do I Have to Pay for My Parent’s Nursing Home Care?

Putting a parent into a nursing home isn’t an easy decision. In most cases, families have held out as long as they can, but their loved one can no longer safely care for themselves independently. While many seniors go on to lead happy, rewarding lives in nursing homes, the cost can be a major source of financial strain for the family. A private room in a full-time nursing home costs approximately $105,000 per year. Medicaid typically only covers shared rooms, and there still may be limitations if your loved one requires additional care services.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Costs?

If your parent is on Medicare, insurance likely will pay for their stay, but only in-full for the first 20 days. After that time, 80 percent of all costs will be paid for. After 100 days, Medicare no longer covers any nursing home costs, so the financial responsibility will defer directly to the patient or their caretaker. Health insurance coverage from private providers varies, but there will likely always be a co-pay. If your loved one has a life insurance policy they want to tap into to cover the care, that is an option. If you want to get ahead of that game, and buy life insurance online, be sure that you ask specific questions about how the funds can be used so that your efforts match your plans.

Policies may cover the entire cost of care while others only pay for certain services. It all depends on the type of health insurance your parent has, their deductible and limitations. Sometimes, the cost of sending your parent into a facility full-time simply isn’t financially feasible. In this instance, you may look into part-time care, adult daycare or an at-home nurse.

Can I Put My Parent in a Nursing Home Without Their Consent?

Each state sets its own laws regarding an adult child’s ability to act on their elderly parents’ behalf. In general, a senior of sound mind cannot be forced into a care facility against their will. If your parent refuses to move into an assisted living facility, then you will have to look into having guardianship appointed by a court of law. This can be an expensive, lengthy process that involves multiple visits from Adult Protective Services (APS). You should only consider this route if your loved one is putting themselves in danger and you have exhausted all other resources.

Someone who has power of attorney and places their parent in a nursing home will be fully accountable for the bills and any costs associated with their care. You may also face the full financial bill if you choose a private, for-profit assisted living facility. Senior communities with medical assistance are also private groups, which means that you will likely have to pay the entire cost of residence and care.

When You Are Responsible for Care

States have their own filial responsibility laws that place adult children in charge of supporting a parent who cannot afford to care for themselves. If you want to learn more, a detailed guide on filial responsibility laws can help explain everything in an easy-to-understand format. To avoid being held fully accountable for your parents’ care, it’s best to encourage them to discuss estate planning. You should also ask them to make arrangements for long-term care and discuss their financial assets and health insurance coverage.