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Help Paying for Care
Financing Your Loved One’s Healthcare
By Paul Gada
A stroke affects even more than the
mind and body; it can also impact someone’s finances. Just as the body needs
care and rehabilitation, a stroke survivor’s finances also need tending to
adjust to a loss of income and rise in healthcare costs. The following tips can
help caregivers manage these financial and healthcare needs for their loved
Apply for Disability
from Social Security
If a survivor is no
longer able to work after a stroke, and has paid FICA taxes, he or she may
qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI provides monthly
income and makes it possible to get healthcare through Medicare. Individuals
are eligible for Medicare 24 months after the date they qualify for SSDI. Also,
they may be able to extend COBRA insurance coverage for 11 additional months if
they receive SSDI benefits.
Because it can be a
long process to apply for SSDI, consider getting help early on from an experienced
See If High-Risk
Insurance is Available
Most states have
high-risk insurance pools that offer insurance to people with health problems.
These plans can be expensive, but they may be the best option if someone does
not qualify for other insurance.
The new healthcare
law has set up a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). Plans may vary
from state to state, but they should cost less than insurance from the
high-risk pool. Someone must be uninsured for six months to qualify for these
Each state also has
a Medicaid program that offers health coverage to some people with low incomes,
including people with disabilities. Find out about your state’s Medicaid
program at healthcare.gov.
Choose the Best
People who qualify
for Medicare face a maze of options. The choices can be confusing, but it is
important that you help the stroke survivor choose the plan that best meets his
or her needs. The wrong plan could mean paying a lot more for care.
Look for a plan that
will cover the special services needed for stroke care. For example, some
Medigap plans cover more of the costs of skilled nursing care. Depending upon
where you live, you may be able to get a Medicare Special Needs Plan (SNP) for
stroke survivors. A plan like this tailors its benefits, doctors and drug coverage
to best meet stroke care needs.
Lower the Cost of
Another place to
save money is on prescription drugs. If a loved one is on Medicare, he or she
may qualify for the Extra Help program. Some states have State Pharmaceutical
Assistance Programs that help people pay for prescriptions. Also, the company
that makes a drug might have a program to help pay for it. Most stroke centers
have a financial counselor to help find ways to pay for care, so do not be shy
about asking for help.
Gada is an attorney and personal financial planning director for Allsup.
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