"Do not deny yourself care due to misinformation and stigma."
This was the cornerstone of Medicare and Medicaid Advisory Group Founder and CEO Ginalisa Monterroso's presentation this afternoon.
Addressing the New York City chapter of the New York State Wide Senior Action Council, Ms. Monterroso probed representatives on their knowledge of Medicaid and long-term care with an interactive quiz.
The reality of widespread unpaid caregiving was laid bare when Ms. Monterroso revealed that there is an estimated 900,000 to 1.3 million unpaid caregivers in New York City, according to a 2017 survey by the NYC Department for the Aging. The same report also outlines that around half of these caregivers cannot make ends meet or barely manage to keep their heads above water.
"You may be thinking, 'I have Medicare, I'm good' - but what happens if you fall and break a hip and the doctors says you can't go home unless you have 24-hour home care?" Ms. Monterroso quizzed.
Medicare does not provide 24 hour home care - on average, it only covers around 4 hours per day. Medicaid can step in and alleviate this by providing around the clock home care from a professional; or if you would be more comfortable being cared for by a family member or friend, you can enroll in what's called CDPAP.
CDPAP (Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program) pays your trusted person 15 to 19 dollars per hour, including health insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave - even if they're not qualified.
"When people deny themselves of care they get depressed; and when they deny themselves of medication their health is in jeopardy," she added.