Breaking Down Private Pay Rehab for Seniors

December 30, 2022

What happens when your loved one is out of rehab days?

Consider this scenario. Your loved one is in a long-term rehabilitation facility and you, as the caregiver, have been told that the insurance coverage for their care is coming to an end. Usually, this will leave you desperately looking for solutions. To make matters worse, this news sometimes comes with little time left to find an alternative solution.

This doesn’t just affect long-term rehabilitation, short-term care is affected by this too. While the end of care services may not be as critical as those for long-term, it is still important for seniors to complete the recommended therapy to help ensure proper recovery.

What can you do when this happens? We’ll cover that in a minute, but first, let’s look at what private pay rehabilitation is.

a senior woman in a wheelchair is using strength training with the help of a private pay rehab thereapist

What is private pay rehab for seniors?

Really, private pay rehab is for anyone who needs additional rehabilitation services past what their healthcare insurance premiums will allow. It’s a guessing game whether your insurance premiums will cover enough of the required rehab to recover from serious injury or illness. There is no way to know how long a patient will need, so often healthcare coverages use averages to try to determine how much coverage will be sufficient.

This is especially difficult to gauge in the elderly as immune systems become weakened and the body recovers slower in general. Completing rehab is important, as inactivity can potentially negate the progress of recovery that has already been made.

an senior man is in a wheelchair using resistance bands with the help of a therapeutic nurse

Short-term vs. long-term rehab

Short term rehab focuses on rehabilitative skilled nursing and therapeutics after surgery, an injury, or an illness in order to offer treatment for an end goal, usually a return to normal life, as quickly as possible. They are aimed at overcoming specific challenges, such as physical, occupational and speech.

Long-term rehabilitation usually requires your loved one to be moved to a care facility properly equipped to provide ongoing specific treatments for a continued increase in recovery. Long-term rehab is typically geared for those who are suffering from a chronic disease, a debilitating medical condition, a serious injury, stroke or permanent disability. The idea behind this type of rehabilitation is to improve your loved one’s quality of life.

Short-term rehabilitation can be outpatient, meaning your loved ones go for a specific appointments on a regular basis until the health goals have been met. There are also in-home short-term rehabilitation services available as well, meaning the nurses and therapists come to you.

Long-term rehabilitation is almost always inpatient, as this level of care requires more frequent monitoring and 24-hour care.

a senior man in a walker is receiving information on private pay rehab from a doctor

What are my loved one’s options?

Okay, now that we’ve covered some explanations, let’s get into the options for what to do when you find out the insurance has been maxed for this service.

Private pay simply means the payment for these services comes from somewhere other than your loved one’s insurance plan.

The obvious first solution is for your loved one to pay for these services out of pocket. And this is where things can get tricky. What happens when your loved one pays for the rehab out of their retirement, they exit care and are left with little or nothing for an assisted living option in the future, if needed?

But there may be other solutions, or sources of assistance that might be available and those options need to be explored as well. This article, “Paying for Long-Term Care,” from the National Institute on Aging lists some options. Navigiting these and other potential resouces can be a daunting task.

This is where a senior placement specialist will be vital to helping you. A senior placement specialist goes beyond just placing loved ones in senior living communities. Their purpose is to help you and your loved ones assess where they are in their care needs and help move them towards that future.

Their expertise goes beyond knowledge of health and care facilities. It extends into understanding different benefits, options and resources that might be available to your loved ones.

At the end of this, out of pocket might still be your only option. But you’ll know exactly what your options are and, more importantly, you’ll have a plan for the future.

an elderly man in private pay rehab is using resistance bands to increase strength

Planning ahead

Speaking of planning for the future. No one wants to plan for their loved ones, or for themselves, to be in a rehabilitative situation. It can be financially devastating.

This is why, even if your loved one’s are not yet in any kind of care facility, getting a strong understanding of what might lie ahead will be vital to make any transition like this as smooth as possible.

Life is unpredictable, and becomes more so as we get older, especially where our health is concerned. That’s why it’s important to get an understanding of what your loved one’s options are. An injury or illness can jump out of nowhere and, if you’re unprepared, can wreck havoc on you, your loved ones and your family.

Planning ahead will help everyone have piece of mind on what steps to take should a rehabilitation scenario become necessary for your loved one.