Money & Policy

Alzheimer’s: How to Pay for Care and Treatment Services

How to learn more about resources ranging from Medicare to private long-term care

Alzheimer’s care can be extremely expensive, and for that reason it’s essential to know what to expect and what resources are available to you. The costs are broken down into two categories, each with different sources of payment. Medical expenses are usually paid separately from the non-medical services that enable an Alzheimer’s patient to live at home as long as possible.

Medical Expenses

People with Alzheimer’s disease require regular medical care as well as special care that may include medications or other interventions. Medical services are often covered by medical insurance — either Medicare or private health insurance. But it’s important to examine the insurance policy to determine coverage limitations, co-pays and deductibles.


Private Health Insurance

If the Alzheimer’s patient has private health insurance, you should contact the insurer and ask what lifetime maximums or other limitations you may encounter. Knowing what you are covered for in advance will help avoid surprises later.

Long-Term Care

Long-term care refers to a set of services and supports for everyday activities such as dressing, bathing, eating and moving around. Medicare does not generally pay for long-term care, and Medicaid is available only under specific circumstances.

Almost half of the formal long-term care provided in the U.S. is paid for out of pocket. While not every person with Alzheimer’s disease needs long-term care, it is important to develop a plan because it can be very expensive. Here is s list of long-term care services and their definitions.


Medicaid is a state/federal program that pays for long-term care services. The program is administered by each state, and eligibility criteria may differ from one state to another.

It is critical to learn what the rules are in your state. Each state also provides a somewhat different set of services. Medicaid always covers nursing homes, but the coverage for home care varies.

Programs for Veterans With Alzheimer’s Disease

Private Long-Term Care Insurance

Adapted from Alzheimers.gov, a website developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the NIH/National Institute of Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center.

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