Let’s get real here. In order to be a nursing home resident for the last part of your life, you need to have loads in the bank. It’s not cheap to live in a nursing home these days. Which means a lot of elders rely solely on their Medicaid to pay for their nursing home expenses. Medicare and Medicaid will both pay for some nursing home care but on different terms. Medicare will only pay for 100 days and then Medicaid kicks in.
Just recently the Senate Republicans and members of the House met with suggestions of drastic cuts to Medicaid funding. The federal government requires each state Medicaid program to provide some coverage for nursing home costs. Since the state has the authority to decide how much they pay facilities, they might decide to cover less of the cost of a nursing home facility.
If they don’t make the decision to decrease their payments to nursing home facilities, they might make it more difficult to meet the medical qualifications to show a need for nursing home care. In response to possible cuts, states might also change some aspects of nursing care itself and what services will be offered.
In 2015, a Kaiser Family Foundation case study shows that over half (almost three quarters) of all nursing home payments comes from Medicaid. Life expectancies are longer, but the resources are not enough to support that. This hasn’t posed a problem in the past because Medicaid was there to cover the rest. What happens if Medicaid funding is decreased?
Medicaid spending on nursing homes and long term care, amounts to 42% of overall spending. Although most of the Medicaid participants are pregnant women and children almost half of the money goes towards nursing homes.
A lot of nursing home residents fear for what could happen with the talk of cutting funds to Medicaid. It’s safe to say that Medicaid plays an important role in nursing home coverage and if the program changes, a lot of dominoes will fall.