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Cigna and Senior Care Coverage

Many older adults choose Cigna, a worldwide health insurance service company, as their Medicare supplement insurance carrier helping to pay for approximately 20% of their Part B medical expenses not covered by Medicare. Also referred to as Medigap plans, Medicare supplement insurance plans provide benefits to “cover the gaps” in original Medicare and are standardized by the government, so all Medicare supplement insurance plans have the same basic benefits no matter which private insurance company you choose from which to purchase them.

Be sure to carefully review Medicare supplement plans provided by all insurance carriers. Some may include partial to full coverage for senior housing and other senior care needs.

Cigna Insurance to Pay for Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing communities, also referred to as skilled nursing facilities, provide around the clock care to those who require medically intensive care which may be long- or short-term in nature. Short-term care generally consists of occupational, physical and speech therapies following a hospital stay, accident or major medical event such as a heart attack or stroke. This skilled nursing care can be costly, but may be the best choice for those who experience extreme difficulties with daily tasks and personal care or require medical care.

Special care units within nursing homes and skilled nursing communities focus on the care needs of people with dementia. They are staffed by personnel specifically trained to care for the needs of someone with dementia. Care provided in special care units falls into an even higher cost bracket.

Medicare typically does not cover the costs of nursing homes and skilled nursing communities; however, under very specific conditions, Medicare Part A will cover skilled nursing care. Typically, this entails care provided under a skilled care plan written by a doctor provided by medically certified personnel in a state licensed skilled nursing center for a specified period of time. Medicaid may cover the costs of nursing home care. Cigna insurance coverage may be used to pay for the costs associated with a stay in a nursing home or skilled nursing center when certain criteria are met.

Cigna Insurance to Pay for Assisted Living

Assisted living communities offer a range of services providing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as meal preparation, bathing and grooming assistance and housekeeping. Although many assisted living communities have oversight by a nurse, and although they do provide some assistance with medical needs such as medication management and checking blood pressure levels, the care received isn’t considered “medical care,” and is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. If skilled nursing care or medically intensive care is required, it would be provided for in a skilled nursing facility, not an assisted living community. Assisted living communities typically provide apartment-like accommodations that may be private or semi-private.

The only type of insurance that will pay for this type of long-term care is a long-term care insurance policy which Cigna does offer but would need to be purchased prior to its need.

Cigna Insurance to Pay for Hospice Care

Hospice care, also referred to as end-of-life care, is provided when a person is believed to have less than six months to live. At the time that hospice care begins, a person has chosen to no longer pursue curative treatments – treatments that help you to live longer. Cigna offers coverage options for both palliative (emotional support, spiritual support, and relief from pain and any other symptoms of a disease) and hospice (end-of-life) care. The costs associated with hospice care, both palliative and hospice, is generally provided by Medicare or Medicaid, insurance coverage such as Cigna and/or private organizations.

Cigna Insurance to Pay for In-Home Care

Many older adults want to continue to live in the comfort of their own home despite their inability to do so without the one-on-one assistance of a professional caregiver. Because personal care such as meal preparations, housekeeping, bathing, grooming and dressing are not covered by Medicare and Medicaid, much of the care required to remain at home would be completely out of pocket expenses. Skilled care, such as that provided by a home health care agency, is generally covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Home health care may include such items as nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Cigna offers long-term care insurance to help pay for the cost of personal care in the home; however, the policy would need to be purchased prior to a person needing to use it. The earlier in life that one chooses to purchase such a policy, the less expensive the resulting payments will be.

Where Can I Get Cigna Insurance to Pay for Senior Care if I Don’t Already Have It?

If you don’t already have insurance coverage to provide for your senior care needs, it’s always best to get it and have it in place before you need it. It’s also best to consider all your health insurance needs including your future long-term care needs and desires. When looking at insurance policies for future long-term care needs, be sure to keep your options open for in-home care, skilled nursing care and hospice care. Although insurance coverage can be purchased online, a Cigna representative can quickly and easily help you select the best policy for your circumstances, both now and in the future. The best time to enroll in a Medicare supplemental insurance plan is when you first become eligible at the age of 65. A Cigna Medigap representative can help you select the best supplemental plan to meet your needs.

What Other Options Exist to Pay for Senior Care?

Most senior care falls under the guise of personal care. And, personal care is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid unless it’s provided in a skilled care facility under a skilled care plan. This means that most, if not all, care will need to be paid out of pocket and may be obtained through the following:

  • Personal savings and retirement accounts
  • Long-term care insurance policies
  • Those with life insurance policies may opt to cash in on accelerated death benefits (under certain conditions) and some life insurance policies allow a specified percentage of the policy’s face value to be used to pay for costs (again, under certain conditions)
  • Taking advantage of a life settlement (through the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party)
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Long-term care annuity contracts

Some of the above choices have specifications and restrictions, and some, like all other insurance policy types, require purchase prior to need.

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Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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