Alzheimer’s disease is a diagnosis that can seem like a death sentence. There are many problems that accompany that diagnosis. One of the primary problems is the emotional toll that the disease can take on the family of the diagnosed person. The entire family has a lot to worry about in terms of the future and their relationships. Financial issues should not be a primary concern nor should it cause any type of undue stress, but there are a lot of different money issues associated Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s insurance is a great way to prepare for something that could potentially destroy a family and the financial stability of that family, all while they are dealing with a potentially devastating diagnosis. It is something that can make all the difference in a stressful situation.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that generally arises later in life. It causes issues with memory, thinking and behavior. It can change personalities and alter an individual beyond recognition. Towards the end Alzheimer’s can become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and living. According to Alzheimer’s.org it is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50-80% of all dementia cases. Contrary to popular belief it is not a part of natural aging. There are many factors involved including smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and Type II diabetes. It is a disease and should be covered under most long-term care insurance policies if not under health insurance.
Alzheimer’s disease is caused by “microscopic changes in the brain begin long before the first signs of memory loss”. It “prevents parts of a cell’s factory from running well”. Those cells die, which causes irreparable damage to the brain. There is some hope as Alzheimer’s research is top priority in America. Most of what we know about the disease has been discovered in the past 15 years. There is a lot of information out there for the families and friends of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
A less common diagnosis is early onset Alzheimer’s. It occurs in 5% of cases and appears when a person is in their 40’s or 50’s. Alzheimer’s is a disease for which there are no cures and it progressively becomes worse over time. By the end of their life, Alzheimer’s patients “lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.” The length of the disease can be anywhere from 4 to 20 years after diagnosis. The costs of health care for those with this disease are enormous. There is no cure, only treatments that prolong life.
Different symptoms of Alzheimer’s arise over time that can be disconcerting for the family members. Some of the common symptoms are “serious memory loss and confusion, and have difficulty remembering newly learned information”. They struggle with mood and behavior changes, increasing confusion about familiar people and places, and even “unfounded suspicions about family, friends and caregivers”. These symptoms are often times heartbreaking and a struggle for everyone involved.
The final years of an Alzheimer’s patient’s life is plagued with serious memory loss and behavior changes, as well as difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Those that find themselves in this position need constant care and supervision. Without long-term care insurance there is no way an average American can afford the care that they deserve. There are tools out there to help families cope with the news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis as well as understanding the costs and financial implications of the disease.
There are ways to avoid buying costly private insurance that cover the costs but then drain savings along the way. It is beneficial to check and see if you or you’re family members qualify for Medicare coverage. Medicare could cover 80% of the costs of health care for an Alzheimer’s patient. The health costs of Alzheimer’s come from a variety of different issues that can arise after a diagnosis. They may develop mental illnesses like depression. Medicare can cover the costs of the treatment of depression. If depression goes untreated it can negatively affect the health of the individual. It can also negatively affect the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. This makes it crucial that any health issues receive immediate care. With a debilitating disease like Alzheimer’s, it is important to stay as healthy as possible and that includes getting any necessary treatment.
There is a catch to Medicaid although, as only patients deemed “homebound” can receive benefits for home health care. This is a stark reality for many Alzheimer’s patients. They have to somehow find the money to pay for the necessary health care before they have reached the time when they are homebound. There is also the bureaucratic red tape to deal with when trying to redeem Medicare benefits. According to an Alzheimer’s website you have to be “virtually impoverished to qualify” for the care benefits. Medicare is a great benefit to millions of people, but in the case of Alzheimer’s it may be too little too late to really help them with the cost of care. The reality is that most Alzheimer’s patients end up qualifying after they have already spent most of their savings on health care costs. They need to check the fine print of their caregivers in order to understand if they will be refunded the costs under the fine print of Medicare.
Medicare can be extremely beneficial if you do qualify for its services. Nearly 30% of people with Alzheimer’s receive help from Medicare and Medicaid. What services you do qualify for depends on your daily benefit but Medicare provides custodial care for Alzheimer’s patients. It typically provides nursing home care as well for advanced patients. The other avenue that many patients are turned towards is Medicaid. It is the primary payer of long term care services for the elderly, many of whom have Alzheimer’s. The advantage to receiving coverage from Medicare is the extra support that you can take advantage of. There are many resources that accompany Medicare and Medicaid along with the financial benefits. It can sometimes be the only affordable health care option for many Alzheimer’s patients.
There is another option for those that do not quite qualify for Medicare or Medicaid but need the financial assistance to pay for their Alzheimer’s treatment. According to an Alzheimer’s foundation Medigap is a secondary insurance option that can be added to Medicare. It is sold through private health insurance brokers. It is specifically designed to accompany Medicare and provides extra coverage. It is a great opportunity for many patients to receive good quality health care that they would not otherwise be able to dream about.
Medigap specifically helps with the cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Most, if not all Alzheimer’s patients will be in a nursing home or an assisted living care facility in the last months or years of their life. That could cost anywhere from $42,000 to $70,000 a year. With both Medigap and Medicare, a family can afford to care for an individual with Alzheimer’s without having to use life savings.
Alzheimer’s disease is a perfect example of the usefulness of long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is there to help prepare for the unexpected, expensive disease that will have tremendous costs associated with them. Alzheimer’s patients should expect years of expensive medication, treatment, and assisted living costs. It is something that every person over the age of 40 should invest in if you can afford the premium payments. It can really help offset the cost of life in later years, which will most likely include long-term care. It is important to purchase this insurance coverage earlier rather than later because it is not possible to buy it with a pre-existing disease such as Alzheimer’s. Preparing for the unexpected is a great way to ensure a better future for your family members.
Alzheimers disease is the 6th leading cause of death in America and that number is rising every year. This is deadly disease that necessitates years of care and medications. There are currently around 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. That number represents a wide age range due to early onset Alzheimer’s. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease. It is a killer but it also destroys the life of the patient and the patient’s family. In 2012 15.4 million family and friends provided millions of hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Despite the emotional hardship of that care, there is no cure for the disease. The rate of death from the disease has increased 70% in the past ten years. The need for financial health through Alzheimer’s insurance is increasing every day. It would be disastrous to be without the support of health care insurance. The financial costs of this disease can only increase, as the patient gets older. It is important to get the insurance early on because the danger for Alzheimer’s is always there, while the support that insurance can offer won’t always be available.
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