Families Need to Monitor Nursing Home Expenses: Thousands of $$ Could be Lost

Paying privately for a nursing home can cost over $10,000 per month in New York State and most people cannot continue to do that before going on Medicaid. However, for those who do pay privately even for a short period of time, they are eligible to get a tax credit for the 6.8% nursing home surcharge that New York State imposes. Most people are not aware of this but it can add up to close to $8000 per year. State officials say this tax generates about $580 million. There is a New York State tax form IT-258 to submit to get back 6.0% of the tax. Even if the tax form is submitted the state is sending letters questioning the refund.

Another area of concern that can costs potentially thousands of dollars has occurred with prescription drugs. Most nursing homes use an outside pharmacy to handle both prescription drugs and over the counter drugs. One family reported getting hundreds of dollars in extra charges for drugs on top of the $11,000 nursing home bill every month. The drug costs were being charged even though the resident had coverage through Medicare Part D and the New York State EPIC program. While some of the costs for over the counter drugs were not covered by those programs, the nursing home’s pharmacy had never billed Medicare and EPIC for several months and just charged the patient. The pharmacy ended up having to issue hundreds of dollars in credits to the resident’s account, but that was only after the family questioned why they were being billed for the drugs and complained.

Here is a link to a Rochester’s WHEC TV story on the tax issue from April 16


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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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