MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE AND MEMORY CARE
As many of us grow older, we tend to experience memory loss. It can range from forgetting the little things, like what’s on our grocery list, to the big things, like events and crucial information about ourselves. Some people will experience more serious forms of memory loss like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
When you’re nearing age 65, and you’re looking into Medicare or Medicare Supplemental Insurance, you need to ensure that you’re looking into options that provide memory care. Though you may have a great memory now, as you get older, that might start to decline. If you’re already seeing signs of memory loss, you have to act fast to get the insurance coverage you need for the rest of your life. You never know what’s around the corner, and you want to be protected for any mental or physical illness that may be coming your way.
First, let’s take a look at facts about dementia and memory loss, so you know how to be prepared in case you’re affected by it.
ALL ABOUT DEMENTIA AND MEMORY LOSS
Dementia is defined as a syndrome in which memory loss occurs, and there is a deterioration in behavior, memory, thinking, and the ability to go about everyday activities. Around 50 million people around the world have dementia, and there are about 10 million new cases each year. Dementia is one of the large causes of dependency and disability among the elderly around the globe. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s, and it contributes to about 60% to 70% of cases. It’s estimated that 5 to 8 per 100 people age 60 and over have dementia.
There are a few different stages of dementia. In the early stage, the symptoms come on gradually, and people will start to forget things, become lost even if they are in familiar settings, and not have the ability to keep track of time. In the middle stage, the symptoms become clearer, as people forget events that just occurred as well as people’s names, they cannot make their way around their homes, they have difficulty communcating with others, they repeat questions and wander, and they need help with personal care. In the late stage, they do not know where they are or what time it is, they do not recognize their family and friends, they have trouble walking, they need assistance with self-care, and they change their behavior, sometimes becoming aggressive and hitting or yelling at others.
Damage to the brain cells causes dementia, making it so the brain cells cannot properly communicate with other another. With Alzehimer’s disease, patients have high levels of certain proteins that exist outside and inside the brain cells, and make it difficult for brain cells to communicate with one another and be healthy. Most of the changes that occur in the brain that lead to dementia and permanent and get worse over time. However, there are some conditions that, once improved, can also improve memory. They include depression, excess use of alcohol, thyroid problems, medication side effects, and vitamin deficiencies.
There isn’t a test that can show that someone has dementia. Doctors have to perform a number of tests including physical exams, cognitive memory tests, physical exams, and lab tests. They must also look at patients’ medical history.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. There are only drugs that can temporarily relieve issues. Non-drug therapies may help lessen the symptoms as well.
To prevent dementia, it’s recommended to eat a heart healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, which consists of little red meat and instead focuses on fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. It’s also recommended to stay away from smoking, and exercise and do what you can to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight.
Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, affects more than 5 million Americans. Data from 2010 – which is the most recent – shows that 11% of people on Medicare have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s beneficiaries are more common than those with osteoporosis, cancer, and asthma.
Fortunately for Americans 65 and older, Original Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance can cover some of the costs related to dementia and other types of memory care.
ORIGINAL MEDICARE AND MEMORY CARE COVERAGE
Original Medicare, also called Medicare Part A and B, is provided to all Americans when they turn 65. They will be automatically enrolled and can choose to go with private insurance instead by opting out. Since many symptoms of memory loss start around 60, it’s best to begin going to the doctor as soon as possible when coverage kicks in to take what’s known as a cognitive impairment test.
A new law makes it mandatory for Original Medicare to provide coverage for cognitive impairment screenings at doctors’ offices. Doctors will do brain imaging, blood tests, and physical and neurological examinations, as well as look at patients’ medical history, to make a diagnosis.
Anyone on Original Medicare can get part of full coverage for things like part-time skilled nursing care, at-home physical therapy, diagnostic testing, hospice care, and doctors’ visits. It will also provide coverage for a registered nurse, licensed practice nurse, or a physical therapist at home. In addition, it will cover inpatient hospital care and some doctors’ fees and medical items.
When someone is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and needs more intensive care, Medicare will cover up to 35 hours of home health care a week. The requirement is the person can’t mentally function outside of the home without someone else helping them. This is true and inside and outside of the home for someone in the late stages.
At any point, Medicare will pay for 100 days of nursing home care as well. However, it has to occur following a stay in a hospital. This means that if a dementia patient falls and breaks an arm and has to go to the hospital, he can stay in nursing home for up to 100 days.
If someone goes into hospice and has less than six months to live, Medicare will pay for doctors, nurses, prescription drugs, counseling, personal care, and homemaker services.
If you’re worried that Original Medicare is not enough – which many people also worry about – then Medicare Supplemental Insurancemay be the way to go.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE AND MEMORY CARE
Medicare Supplemental Insurance, also known as Medigap, covers the gaps in care from Original Medicare. In most states across the U.S., patients will be able to choose from 10 different plans that are labeled A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.Some of the things that these plans may cover are prescription drugs, the first three pints of blood, and skilled nursing facility care coinsurance. They also have different coverage for Part B coinsurance or copayment, Part A deductible, Part B deductible, and the Part B excess charge.
While F and C are the most comprehensive Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, starting on January 1, 2020, they will no longer be available. If someone is enrolled in them already, he will be able to keep his coverage, however.
Since every type of Medicare Supplement Insurance plan is different, you will want to research what each one covers and choose the one that will not only cover your needs today but provide for you in the future. Since dementia is degenerative, you’re going to need much more care and financial help from your insurance plan in the future.
Aside from Original Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance, you may need to research long-term care insurance. It will provide coverage for the gaps from Medicare Supplemental Insurance and Original Medicare, and ensure you have the most appropriate coverage you need going forward.
FINDING MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE FOR MEMORY CARE
If you’re ready to look into Medicare Supplemental Insurance and figure out a plan to purchase, then use Ensurem’s Medicare Supplement Quote tool. In just a few minutes and with a little bit of basic information like your birth date, gender, tobacco use, and location, you can find the best Medicare Supplemental Insurance for your memory care needs now and in the future. Don’t wait when it comes to your healthcare. Find your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan today and be rest assured that you’re covered for whatever life brings your way.