Frequently Asked Questions / Informational Snippets

Frequently Asked Questions / Informational Snippets

Order a replacement Medicare Card on-line.
The different types of Medicare Health Plans?
Medigap Plans: Do I need one? Where do I get one?
Is it possible that you or someone you know may be owed a pension benefit without knowing it?
Apply for Veterans Benefits Online.
Get copy of your Passport Records on-line.
FDA offers these tips to consumers who buy health products online.
How to Spot Health Fraud: Health products that are totally bogus -- consumers who are totally unsuspecting.
Medicare participating physicians who have agreed to accept assignment on all Medicare claims.
Obtain birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates.

National Eldercare Locator
A nationwide, directory assistance service designed to help older persons and caregivers locate local support resources for aging Americans.

Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes. Reference: CDC

During the past decade, the number of licensed drivers aged 70 years or older has increased by nearly 50%. That number will continue to increase. Reference: CDC

16% of caregivers report quitting their jobs to care for aging relatives. (MetLife Juggling Act Survey, 1999)

Estimates suggest that the average fees for Assisted Living Care are approximately $24,000-$30,000 annually. Reference: AARP

The average cost for Nursing Home Care is about $50,000 a year. Like many people, you may think Medicare pays for it, but unfortunately it doesn't. Reference: AARP

Medicaid coverage of long-term care varies by state. Learn your state's rules. For the phone numbers of these offices in the state or area in which you want Medicaid assistance, call the Eldercare Locator:

State and local long-term ombudsmen serve as consumer watchdogs for residential care facilities by monitoring conditions, investigating complaints, and fighting for resident's rights.

If you're forced to miss work to handle caregiving responsibilities, you need know about your legal rights as outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Custodial care, assistance with the activities of daily living such as eating and bathing, is typically provided at home or in community settings such as assisted-living facilities and will be especially in demand. Neither medicare, medicaid, medigap nor employer-provided health insurance pays for custodial care.

The number of long-term-care policies in effect has risen rapidly to more than 3.5 million. Consumers are becoming aware that as the population ages, far more people will need long-term care.

To use Medicaid, you must be in a nursing home that accepts Medicaid. Most, but not all, nursing homes do.

A financial advisor is the best person to answer "What might be the cost to the senior of not having a will, power of attorney, advance directive, living will, proper life/health/disability/long-term care insurance?"

Consult a qualified financial advisor or an attorney trained in "elder law" if you are considering protecting assets through a trust or another means, or giving some of your assets to others.

Advanced Care Directives are legal documents that ensure your loved one's health-care wishes will be carried in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.

A reverse mortgage (RM) is a type of home equity loan that allows you to convert some of the equity in your home (that you must own) into cash while you retain home ownership.

A recently completed study for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that private units in assisted living had an occupancy rate of approximately 88%.

The most common reason for discharge from an assisted living facility is the need for a nursing home stay.

The typical assisted living resident is an 83- year-old female needing assistance with three Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

Many nursing home residents pay the full cost of their care when they are admitted, but they deplete their savings and other assets paying for care and qualify for Medicaid.

Almost 70 percent receive help from Medicaid, the government health care safety net program for lower-income people or those impoverished by high medical expenses.

Founded in 1985, the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission is the nation's only accrediting body for continuing care retirement communities and other retirement communities that meet its standards.

U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112
Click Here

You may have heard of people giving their assets to relatives or using legal loopholes to qualify for Medicaid without "spending down" their savings. Congress has closed most of the loopholes, and there are penalties for improperly transferring assets.

Healthfinder® is a free gateway to reliable consumer health and human services information developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

You can begin to receive Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be up to 20 percent less than if you wait until legal retirement age (usually age 65).

Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213
Call to arrange for direct deposit of social security checks, to notify the agency of a change of address, to check benefits or for general information on social security.

Some independent living communities provide subsidized housing with rental assistance from the federal government.

Sponsored by the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging (AAHSA), CCAC is an independent entity that accredits only those communities that meet or exceed its standards of excellence.

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
901 E St., NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20004

· Know the tax implications of selling a home to pay for CCRC care.
· Consult a financial planner.
· Consult an elder-law attorney.
· Some CCRCs provide unlawful deals. Solvency of the project owners can be investigated through state agencies.

CCAC accreditation is widely regarded as a "seal of approval" for retirement communities. Accreditation is a voluntary process involving extensive and rigorous self-evaluation by the retirement community's staff, residents, and board of directors and an on-site review by trained CCAC evaluators.

Founded in 1985, the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission is the nation's only accrediting body for continuing care retirement communities and other retirement communities that meet its standards.

Assisted Living Facilities Association of America
9411 Lee Highway Plaza Suite J
Fairfax, VA 22031

Consumers overwhelmingly believe that private living units are an important feature of assisted living. (1)

Residents move into assisted living from various locations, with over half moving from private residences. (1)

AAHSA offers the Consumer's Guide to Not-for-Profit Homes and Services to the Aging featuring a complete list of all AAHSA provider members.

Assisted living is the fastest growing type of senior housing in the United States, with an estimated 15-20% annual growth rate over the last few years. Source: AARP

The rapid development of assisted living is a response to several factors, including growth in the population of older persons (especially persons age 85 and older), the desire of older persons to "age in place," and changes in family structure that have produced an increase in the number of older persons living with more limited family support. Source: AARP

The National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) was formed due to public concern regarding substandard care in nursing homes. NCCNHR

According to the 1997 National Nursing Home Survey, there were 1,465,000 residents age 65 and older in nursing homes (about 4.3 percent of the US population age 65 and older in 1997). Nearly three-fourths of these residents were women, and about one-half were age 85 and older.

The average annual cost of care in a nursing home in 1998 was about $56,000 or $153.00 per day. Source: AARP

Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing home care per benefit period. However, after 20 days, beneficiaries must pay a coinsurance ($99 per day in 2001). Medicare will only pay for nursing home care preceded by a three-day hospital stay.

About 70 percent of nursing home residents are supported, at least in part, by Medicaid. Medicaid reimbursement systems for nursing homes vary considerably from state to state and averaged $95.72 per day in 1998.

National Association for Home Care
228 Seventh Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

American Association for Homecare
AAHomecare is the unified voice that represents all the elements of homecare under one roof. From home medical equipment to home health services and from rehab technology to respiratory/infusion therapy.

Hospice Helpline
National Hospice Organization
1901 N. Moore St., Suite 901
Arlington, VA 22209

Some long-term care insurance policies cover only nursing home care and some cover only at-home care.

Adult Day Care provides out of home day-time health and social services to persons who have difficulty getting around or caring for themselves.

Respite care allows caregiver's time away from their care duties to take care of their own needs by providing a trained worker or volunteer to be with the family member while the caregiver is away. Your local area agency on aging (AAA) is a good place to start looking for information on respite care.