Sometimes elder care feels a little bit like booking a hotel room.
As one of the world’s most widely recognized travel organizations, AAA offers discounted rates at big-name hotels all across the U.S. If you’re a member, you might be able to knock 10 to 15% off the rack rate.
But those savings aren’t always available in every room. Some hotels might block off a limited number of rooms and designate those as discount-eligible (whether for AAA or any other discount program). Accordingly, you might show up at the hotel without a reservation and find that all the eligible rooms are already gone. You’ll have to pay full price instead.
Medicaid facilities can work the same way.
I started thinking about the AAA analogy after seeing an article by the Houston Chronicle online. It describes the difficulties some seniors have when trying to use Medicaid in a purportedly Medicaid-accepting facility.
That’s because some such facilities advertise themselves as “Medicaid-accepting” but, in reality, reserve only a limited number of beds for Medicaid patients. The remaining residents have to pay full price… just like with those non-discounted hotel rooms.
Unfortunately, some elderly patients enter these facilities with the expectation of enjoying long-term Medicaid care there, only to later learn that all the Medicaid spots are already taken — perhaps after the family has already paid the facility a substantial sum.
One way to head off a problem like that is to ask probing questions of the facility before putting any money down. Find out exactly how many Medicaid-eligible beds are available and what the occupancy rates look like.
Another option is to work with an experienced elder law attorney from the get-go. At my office, we help elderly people and their families foresee potential contingencies like these and work toward a more effective solution.
If you have any questions whatsoever about accessing senior care facilities in New Jersey using Medicare or Medicaid, please feel free to give me a call.