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

http://www.whec.com/article/stories/s3768441.shtml

Welcome to Generations of New York

This blog  is being created as  a community forum to provide current information on public issues regarding health care, seniors, families and caregivers in New York State.  We will be providing news as well as commentary on federal and New York State legislation along with community services issues.  We also will highlight remarkable civic engagement activities of older persons in New York State.  Please feel free to sign up for the website and get alerted when new posts are added.

Paid Family Leave Coalition Sets May 6 Lobby Day

The Paid Family Leave Coalition is planning a May 6th lobby in Room 711 of the Legislative Office Building in Albany to continue the momentum for the legislation (A3870/S3004 Nolan/Addabbo) that occurred during budget negotiations.  The Assembly has passed the bill again this year while the Senate including funding for a different version in its budget resolution.

The Senate funding came at the request of Independent Democrat Caucus which pushed for it.  Now, there is a move to try to get a Senate Republican to sponsor the Assembly bill which passed that house.  Senator Jack Martins who chairs the Labor Committee held a hearing on the issue on March 17.  The Assembly bill uses New York’s Temporary Disability Insurance program to fund the program which would provide up to 2/3 of a worker’s salary for up to twelve weeks.

State Budget Adds Funds for Long Term Care Ombuds Program

The final state budget bill added  $500,000 in new money for the Long Term Care Ombud Program (LTCOP)  This money was added after a number of local program operators had pulled out of the program because of the limited funding available.  The State Office for the Aging is in the process of releasing a request for proposals based upon a regional model that will ask bidders to cover several counties.  Language in the budget required that local area agencies on aging have an opportunity to continue to run the program after some said a regional model would create problems for the county governments they work for which usually allow them only to operate programs in their own counties.