Will Medicare pay the bills for a patient who must
stay in a nursing home?
Medicare is the federally funded insurance program
that's automatically available to most people when they turn 65. The
program will pay for a participant's stay in a nursing home, but only
for a limited amount of time. If you are discharged from a hospital
but continue to need skilled nursing care at an approved nursing
home, Medicare will pay for the first 20 days' stay in the home. It
will pay a portion of the cost if up to 80 more days are needed.
After that, neither Medicare nor a Medigap policy will pay for any
services. If you go directly into a nursing home without first
staying in the hospital, neither Medicare nor Medigap will cover any
of the cost. You might be eligible for assistance from Medicaid, the
program for low-income elderly people who have few assets. But
failing that, the cost of your stay will likely have to be paid out
of your own pocket.