An Overview of Health Insurance & Assistance Program Options For Elderly

September 21, 2021

It is not easy to see parents aging and losing their ability to do their daily chores and be independent. More often than not, elderly find the care and assistance from family members to be a nag. This is usually because they feel like a burden even when they're not.

One solution for this problem is remote monitoring as it helps keep an eye on the senior person without any invasion of their personal space. It also gives them enough room to have some semblance of independence in their older age.

Life Alert is the most popular medical alert system that helps the elderly in case of an emergency. With a wearable call button, the senior can notify medical, fire and other types of emergency services. However, there are also a number of insurance and assistance programs for the older generation that you can consider. They work as great Life Alert alternatives.

Health Insurance

Senior health considerations begin with health insurance. With increasing medical costs, it is becoming clearer what an important role health insurance plays. It secures finances against emergency medical issues and covers most pre and post hospitalization costs.

With aging, there is no saying when a medical emergency could arise. Keeping a parent's health and finances safe with insurance is the way to go.

Private Health Insurance

A private health insurance plan is the most commonly opted-for route. This insurance scheme can be bought from any private insurance provider. A key to private insurance is to establish it early in the aging process. Seniors with significant health issues can have great difficulty finding adequate insurance, so it’s very important to plan ahead.  Consider an elderly health insurance plan while your parents are in their mid-sixties.

Medicare

Apart from a private policy, you can also apply for insurance under the Medicare plan. It is a federal government funded healthcare program, under which senior citizens aged 65 or above and other specially eligible people are covered.

The program subsidizes healthcare for the target age group. It is offered for older citizens who don't have health insurance. Since the sign up process is quite lengthy, it is important to apply for Medicare as soon as a person turns 65. It has been divided into four classes- Medicare A, B, C and D.

Medicare A has free premium for people who contributed to Medicare for 10 years or more through their payroll taxes, while enrollment in D is optional.  Under Medicare A, people with Social Security benefits receive automatic coverage for in-patient facilities like nursing homes, hospice and home healthcare.

Medicare B covers outpatient facilities, preventive and ambulance services, medical equipment and mental health assistance.

Also known as Medicare Advantage, Medicare C offers coverage like A and B, but through private insurers.

Medicare D offers prescription drugs coverage that are not included under A or B.

Medicaid

Also funded by the federal government, Medicaid is a healthcare plan that assists low income groups. Medicare and Medicaid can be available simultaneously. This makes the insured person eligible for dual benefits.

Medicaid is especially helpful for senior citizens with low income or limited financial resources. This government sponsored healthcare insurance offers services that are not covered under Medicare, including long-term hospitalization and nursing home stays.

In most cases, a senior citizen mist prove that they are eligible for Medicaid. They become eligible after exhausting most of their financial assets and reaching a certain limit. After this, the medical charges etc will be taken care of by Medicaid.

Medigap

This privately sold insurance policy is offered to supplement the benefits and fill the healthcare gaps of Medicare. It goes a long way in boosting the overall benefit of Medicare and providing additional assisting. Medigap is offered to those seniors who already have Medicare A and B.

Once Medicare has paid its share of medical costs, Medigap enters to satisfy the additional or left over costs. It is also known as Supplemental Health Insurance because of its out-of-pocket expense coverage.

Veteran Assistance Programs

Multiple State and Federal Government sponsored Veteran Assistance Programs offer help to veterans across a number of plans. These programs range from housing and emergency financial assistance to health.

The Veterans Administration also sponsors various health benefits to veterans, regardless of their age. To be eligible, the veteran must have served continuously for at least two years or have a disability caused during the course of their service or fought in various theaters of war.

The CHAMPVA Program offers government sponsored health insurance to eligible spouses or widows of disable or deceased veterans.

Low Income Assistance Programs

Every state government has some form of Low Income Assistance Program that helps cover the medical bills for low income families, seniors and veterans. Elders can also approach government funded clinics that specifically cater to low income groups as part of Senior Assistance Programs.

These community clinics and healthcare centers are set up to provide free to low cost medical services. The Federal Government Health Resources and Services Administration provides low cost healthcare even to individuals without health insurance.

Elderly Monitoring Sensors

An effective method of preventing medical costs is to stay away from healthcare emergencies. Most health-related emergencies for older people arise due to a lack of appropriate monitoring. If your parent lives alone, it might be useful to invest in a medical call alert system or a room monitor for the elderly.

Most medical alert systems require the senior person to push a button, however this may not be possible in all cases. On the contrary, elderly monitoring sensors detect and notify family of unsafe situations, health issues and even fall detection. With advancing technology, remote caregiving has become easier than ever. Armed with motion detecting sensors like SentryTell, adult children can take care of their parents even though they may not be physically near them.

A room monitor for elderly also assures the senior that help is always near. They can also wear trackers that can automatically detect falls. These wearables come in the form of necklaces, bracelets and watches.

There are also sensors that are placed throughout the home. These sensors regularly update the caregiver about the person's daily routine through an app like SentryTell. They track their movement and any abnormality can be noticed easily. If the parent did not get out of bed as usual, spent too much time in one room or if they left the house, alerts are sent to the caregiver through the app.

Conclusion

Even with limited resources, growing old can be made easier by proper research and care. By using monitoring systems for elderly in the home, you're not just keeping an eye on them, you can prevent emergencies altogether. There is no lack of healthcare assistance options available to the elderly. Insurance provides financial benefits while monitoring systems provide a peace of mind. You can rest assured that the elderly are safe at home, while the insurance keeps their future secure.