Jun 16

Medicare, Medicaid & Financing Senior Living

If you or a Seattle senior is beginning to explore retirement communities, it can be an exciting time! Today’s senior living communities have much to offer. From watercolor classes and lectures from University of Washington professors to yoga and aqua aerobics, the opportunities to live a vibrant retirement life are endless. But the financial questions you have can feel overwhelming.

We thought it would be helpful to our readers if we shared the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about financing senior living in the Seattle area.

The Most Common Questions about Financing Senior Living

Q: Does Medicare cover any of the costs of a move to a senior living community?

A: This is often a bit of a surprise to seniors, but the answer is “no.” Medicare covers only skilled health care needs. If a senior has knee surgery, for example, and needs to transition to a nursing care community to continue their rehab, Medicare will pay for some of that care. Unfortunately, it does not help cover the expenses of an independent or assisted living community.

Q: For seniors with limited finances, does Medicaid pay for an assisted living community?

A: The answer to this question varies from state to state and community to community. In some states, the Affordable Care Act allowed for community based funding to be expanded to help pay for assisted living. Because those funds are still quite limited, not many senior living providers are able to accept Medicaid as a source of payment. Your local Agency on Aging office will be the best resource for learning more.

Except for Ida Culver House Broadview’s Health Care Center, the Era Living communities do not accept Medicaid.

Q: Does the Veteran’s Administration offer any special benefits to help seniors who are veterans finance senior care expenses?

A: Yes, the program is called the Aid & Attendance benefit. It was designed to help veterans and their surviving spouses. If they meet the qualifications, a veteran and/or their spouse may be eligible for up to $2,120 per month in assistance. If you are a veteran who is searching for senior living in the greater Seattle area, the Era Living community nearest you can help answer your questions about this program.

Q: Does long-term care insurance cover retirement living community expenses?

A: This is definitely an avenue to explore if you or your Seattle senior loved one has a long-term care policy. In most cases, these policies will help if the older adult is in an assisted living setting. Seniors often overlook taking advantage of this benefit because they think their insurance will only pay for a nursing home.

Q: I would like to move to a retirement community before I put my house on the market. Once I’ve moved out and am settled, then it can go up for sale. Can I get a short-term loan to help with expenses until the house is sold?

A: For many seniors, their home is their largest asset. Financial institutions recognize that and are often willing to establish bridge loans or home equity loans to help make this transition go more smoothly. 

Q: Can life insurance policies be used to pay for senior living?

A: Life settlement companies help seniors convert a life insurance policy in to cash. While you won’t receive full face value for the policy, in most cases you will receive more than the surrender value. Talk with a trusted financial expert to ask for advice and a referral before considering this option.

If you have a question we didn’t answer, please don’t hesitate to let us know! The team members at any of our eight Seattle area retirement communities will be happy to help.