Senior Care Costs Glossary


Below is a list of commonly referenced resources along with links for further information. Each one has its own set of “applicability” with regards to the various care settings.  


Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).


Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government. 


A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy helps pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap policies are sold by private companies. Some consumers instead purchase Medicare Advantage plans that function like an HMO.

Long Term Care Insurance

Unlike traditional health insurance, long-term care insurance is designed to cover long-term services and supports, including personal and custodial care in a variety of settings such as your home, an assisted living community organization, or other facility. 

Veterans Administration (VA) Benefits

Two VA programs provide certain older veterans with an additional monetary amount: Aid and Attendance (A&A) is an increased monthly pension amount paid if you meet certain eligibility requirements, and the Housebound benefit is an increased monthly pension amount paid if you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability. 

Government Programs 

A number of government programs are available to assist seniors in paying for care, such as HUD housing and reduced rent. States and towns often make available other forms of assistance with rent or care in a senior living environment.

Savings - Gap Loans

This type of loan covers the difference between what you can pay and the cost of living. 

Bridge Loans

Financial products, such as he “Elderlife Bridge Loan” have been created to help seniors and their families with the cost of assisted living, home care or skilled nursing on a short-term basis, typically for periods ranging up to 12 months, but sometimes longer. 

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan available to homeowners, 62 years or older, that allows them to convert part of the equity in their homes into cash.

Medical Deductions

In certain instances, expenses associated with assisted living, memory care or nursing homes are treated as tax-deductible medical expenses. To qualify, you or someone who was your spouse or your dependent (either when the service was provided or when you paid them) must be the facility primarily for medical care (which includes assistance with activities of daily living). In some cases, the entire cost—including meals and lodging—is deductible as a medical expense.

Stay tuned for more tips and insights at Open Conversations. 
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Content for Open Conversations was developed in partnership with Caregiving Advice.

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