Most Americans Confused About Medicare Home Health Care Coverage

Only 33% of older Americans have set aside money to pay for their own long-term care, including home health care. Similarly, most Americans believe the federal government should help pay for their care in old age, according to a recent survey.

Over half of Americans 40 and older believe the federal government should devote “a lot” or “a great deal” of effort to helping people with long-term care expenses, according to the survey of 1,341 people conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The number of Americans who hold this position has risen in recent years. About 56% of Americans polled this year believe that Medicare should play a major role in paying for ongoing living assistance; in 2013, only 39% expressed that belief.

From the looks of it, many older Americans will ultimately require some sort of assistance in paying for their long-term care, the survey results indicated.

Approximately 66% of Americans age 40 and over admitted they have done little or no planning for their own long-term care needs, and only 15% say they’re “extremely” or “very” confident that they’ll have the financial resources to pay for any ongoing living assistance, the survey found.

Perhaps consequently, 57% of those polled plan to depend on Medicare “completely” or “quite a bit” for their own ongoing living assistance when or if they need it, while 25% plan to depend on Medicaid.

However, just because most Americans plan to rely, at least in part, on Medicare, it doesn’t mean they know what Medicare will actually pay for. Medicare, for instance, does not cover long-term care services from home health aides, AP noted.

Meanwhile, only 20% of people polled believe that family members should have a large responsibility to assist their older relatives in paying for long-term care.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson