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Part A will pay for all covered services for the first 20 days. You don’t need to worry about any kind of deductible. For days 21 through 100, all covered services are paid for and you pay a daily coinsurance amount, as you would with hospital stays.

If you find yourself in a skilled nursing facility and you only require custodial care, your stay will not be covered. Medicare will not pay for custodial care when it is the only care you are receiving. While custodial care is the most common type of care given in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, Medicare won’t cover it because they have determined that someone who isn’t medically trained could give custodial care, such as help with eating, dressing, etc. So, even if you are in a participating facility, you will have to pay for your own care. (This is one time when long term care insurance comes into play.) Medicare will entertain appeals if your coverage is denied, but not for custodial care appeals.

If you need to stay at home due to health problems, and you meet other certain conditions, Part A can pay the full approved cost of your home health care. It must come in the form of home visits from a Medicare-participating home health agency, but Medicare places no restrictions on the number of visits you may have. Part A will also help pay for any services from home health aides, occupational and physical therapists, and medical social services on a part-time or intermittent basis. Plus, it will also help pay for medical supplies and equipment. You will have to pay a 20-percent copayment for any cov- ered durable medical equipment (i.e., hospital beds and wheelchairs).

When people are diagnosed as terminally ill, many of them turn to hospices for help. A hospice program can help provide pain relief and other programs and support services for terminally ill patients and their families. Because of this, Medicare helps pay for the costs associated with hospice care. The services, as with the other kinds of care, must be provided by a Medicare-certified hospice, and you must meet other certain conditions.

Any patient can receive hospice care benefits as long as his or her doctor certifies that the person is terminally ill and probably has six months or fewer to live. Even if the patient lives longer than six months, he or she can still receive benefits. The doctor must recertify the person is are terminally ill. Hospice care will come in periods. There are two 90-day periods of care, followed by an unlimited num-

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