April 2, 2015
Figuring out how to pay for eldercare can be a challenge. The majority of seniors prefer to live at home as long as possible, but they may not have considered how to cover the cost of home care.
Here are three common myths about financing home eldercare, along with information about other funding sources that can help your loved one age in place.
Myth #1: Long-term care is covered under the Canada Health Act
Truth: Long-term care is considered an extended service and is therefore not deemed as “medically necessary.” As such, long-term care is not an insured service under the Canada Health Act in the same way as doctor and hospital services. Instead, long-term care is governed by provincial and territorial legislation.
Myth #2: There is a standard availability for home care services in every community.
Truth: Every Canadian province and territory manages its home care services differently, depending on legislation and funding. Generally, seniors in Canada must meet need-based requirements to qualify for government-funded home care.
In Ontario, Community Care Access Centres (CCAC) determine whether a senior is eligible for government-funded home care. The CCAC will also decide the level and length of care a senior needs. Personal support services in Ontario are capped at 60 hours per month.
In British Columbia, some home and community care services are covered by public funding, while other services must be covered by the client. Client rates are determined based on income or set as a fixed rate, depending on the kind of care needed. Professional services are delivered by public employees, but home support services are delivered by private agencies.
In Alberta and Nova Scotia, public employees provide the administration and home support services are contracted out to private agencies.
In Saskatchewan, Manitoba and PEI, government employees manage and deliver both home care and home support. These provinces encourage clients to move to long-term care facilities when the costs of home care reach the level of facility care. In PEI, government-funded home care services are limited to just three visits or 28 hours a week.
Myth #3: Funding from provincial or territorial health plans is the only option to pay for home care.
Truth: Individual health plans can be purchased to supplement each province’s government health plan, including home care. Additionally, through Veterans Affairs Canada, the federal government funds home care services for Canadians who served in wartime or on special duty. This is supplemental to provincial or territorial home care programs. Visit veterans.gc.ca for more information on services and eligibility.
Proven Ways to Fund Home Care Services
1. Long-term care insurance
These increasingly popular plans usually include benefits for home-based care, as well as for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You should get a long-term care insurance policy before you need benefits. If you’re interested in this funding source, your best bet is to get the help of a financial advisor in choosing the best policy for your needs.
2. Reverse mortgage
For seniors who have paid off their house, a reverse mortgage allows them to access the equity without selling the property. You should carefully evaluate reverse mortgage plans before choosing one. Some plans take a large percentage of the equity as a fee for their services. If you’re unsure how to choose a reverse mortgage or determine if it’s the right option for you, consult a financial advisor.
To learn more about the many ways to pay for home caregiving, watch the “How to Handle the Canadian Medicare Maze” video series.
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