Medicare Does Not Cover Long-Term Care

Armen Hareyan's picture
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More than three dozen House members on Aug. 2 sent a letter to the Social Security Administration asking the agency to clarify that Medicare does not cover long-term care, CQ HealthBeat reports. The bipartisan letter urges SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue to include in Social Security statements sent annually to 143 million U.S. residents the sentence: "Medicare generally does not pay for long-term care."

The statement currently says that Medicare provides some coverage for "nursing care," which the lawmakers wrote "creates an unnecessary risk that individuals will assume Medicare covers an extended stay in a nursing home, when in fact it does not." While Medicare covers care delivered in skilled nursing facilities for beneficiaries who require longer-term medical treatment, it does not pay for custodial care, such as assistance with eating, bathing and other daily living activities. A December 2006 AARP survey found that 59% of adults ages 45 and older overestimated Medicare coverage for long-term care (CQ HealthBeat, 8/9).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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