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If you have a loved one needing the help of a skilled nurse, you may have to place them where they can receive medical assistance on a daily basis. These facilities – once called nursing homes – are now “skilled nursing facilities.” Depending on the type of care your loved one needs, these facilities offer beds with shared rooms for people to live in. They have nurses on staff around the clock to help with any treatments that can only be provided by licensed nurses.

There are different types of situations where skilled nurses are needed: patients going through rehabilitation, those who have serious health issues, or those who suffer from chronic medical conditions. Most of the residents at a skilled nursing facility need 24-hour care, which is why the price tag that goes along with skilled nursing facilities is so high.

A Shocking Price Tag

The national average cost for a skilled nursing facility is a whopping $8,266 per person each month. To obtain a better pricing range for Columbus, Ohio, we called several skilled nursing facilities and found the Columbus average to be less than the national average, coming in the neighborhood of  $7,100 a month. Although better than the national average, it’s still costly.

Ways of Paying

So what are the options for families who can’t afford to provide a skilled nursing home to their loved ones? One option is if the patient had saved money for retirement during their lifetime, and their estate can afford the bill. Another route is whether the patient has long-term care insurance. This type of insurance covers costs that aren’t eligible for payment from traditional health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. The good news for patients is that Medicare often covers the high costs of skilled nursing facilities.

What Does Medicare Cover?

When it comes to skilled nursing care, Medicare covers a variety of services. These include: a semi-private room (double occupancy or more depending on the facility); meals; skilled nursing care; any necessary physical, occupational, or speech language pathology therapy; social services; medications; supplies for medical treatment; dietary counseling; and any required ambulance transportation.

There are specific rules and regulations by Medicare that need to be met before a person to qualify for skilled nursing care, such as a doctor’s orders for inpatient care. How Medicare pays is based on the timeframe the skilled nursing care is needed. The patient pays different amounts based on what day they are in the facility. The first through the 20th day is zero dollars, the 21st through the 100th day the patient will be billed at $167.50 (although that is going up to $170.50 in 2019), and all costs after the 101st day. Medicare doesn’t pay for hospice or any long-term needs for skilled nursing care. Visit www.medicare.gov to understand the exact benefits before getting admitted to a skilled nursing facility.

Which Facility to Choose

When it comes to choosing a facility, it’s like anything else – you need to do your research. You want your loved one to get the care they need while being as comfortable as possible. You can do some research on the internet, ask the doctor’s opinion, and visit nearby facilities. When you understand what’s involved in the care, the cost, what covered with the price, and what the facility is like, it will be easier to make an educated decision.

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