For those with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their caregivers, planning for the financial future is extremely important. Individuals with Alzheimer's need to think about the costs associated with medical professionals, prescriptions, assistance in or outside the home, and long-term living arrangements, all of which can add up and drain personal savings very quickly. As early as possible, gather information on all options for payment, and decide which are best. In addition, the caregiver's and other family members should review their own finances to determine whether and how much they can contribute. A lawyer can advise the family about establishing a Durable Power of Attorney for Finances.
Gather important finance-related information for the person with Alzheimer's disease including:
- Name, address and Social Security number
- Insurance information, including Medicare and Medicaid numbers and life, health, homeowner's and automobile policies and policy numbers
- Veterans Administration claim number, if applicable
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of lawyers, financial advisors or accountants, and insurance agents
- Bank records, including all bank account numbers
- Information on all sources of income, including pension plans, IRAs, Keogh plans and stock certificates
- Tax records
- Information on property owned (including real estate), mortgage payments or titles to property
- Credit cards and account numbers, including personal identification numbers (PINs) and security codes
- Information on all loans or outstanding debts, and on money owed to the patient
- Receipts/documents for any pre-paid funeral/burial arrangements, if applicable
- Copies of any legal documents, including a will, advance medical directives, durable power of attorney for health and/or finances documentation; burial requests (mortuary, burial plot and deed)
Investigate the following payment options:
Government benefits programs:
- Medicare - a federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older who are receiving Social Security retirement benefits. To receive Medicare assistance, specific eligibility requirements must be met. Medicare covers some, but not all, of the services a person with AD may require. Prescription drug coverage is also available.
- Medicaid - a federal program for certain individuals and families with low incomes and resources, typically administered by state agencies; eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. Medicaid can cover all or a portion of nursing home costs. A person with Alzheimer's can qualify for long-term Medicaid coverage only if there are minimal income and cash assets, and should apply through the state's Department of Human Services or Medicaid Assistance Program.
- Social Security - is a federal program that provides retirement income, disability payments and other payments to workers who contributed to the plan when employed, and to their dependents.
- Veteran's benefit programs, may be applicable.
Private insurance plans:
- Medigap is health insurance sold by private companies to supplement, or fill the “gaps,” in Medicare coverage.
- Managed care health insurance includes preferred provider plans and health maintenance organizations.
- Long-term care insurance plans are an option only if these are in place at the time of AD diagnosis.
Loans and personal savings:
- Life insurance policies - there are several ways to obtain loans from these policies that do not have to be repaid until death.
- Mortgages - it is possible to borrow money against the equity in a home through a reverse mortgage.
- Personal assets - these can include income from stocks and bonds, sale of property, savings accounts and retirement accounts.
There are many organizations that can offer resources and assistance.
A full list of resources for financial aid can be found here.
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Last Review: 08/21/13