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What is the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly?

The PACE program is a program from the state called the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly. It is a coordination program that helps senior citizens remain in certain communities and helps pay for prescription drugs.

You qualify for the program if you can live in a qualifying community without putting your own safety or health at risk, are at least 55 years old, live in an area serviced by the program and meet the separate requirements for care in a skilled nursing facility. Income is not a requirement for PACE eligibility, although it is a requirement for seeking assistance in paying for PACE. Individuals who qualify for Medicaid will have a portion of PACE premiums paid by Medicaid and the rest covered by Medicare. Others have to pay the portion of the premium not covered by Medicare.

It's important to note that PACE is a Medicare and long-term care provider, which means you cannot enroll in both PACE and a Medicare HMO. When reviewing your plans for long-term care, you should consider all options and choose the program that is most likely to meet your needs and work with your income level and other estate planning wishes.

Another important note about PACE is that the program works through multidisciplinary teams, and those teams are assigned by the program. That means when you enter the program, you will be assigned a primary care physician. That physician might not be the doctor you already have, which is a reason some people opt for other programs.

PACE participants tend to attend day health care programs about three times a week, and they also receive support such as meals and home care as needed. Working with a legal professional to align all your end-of-life care -- including health care provisions -- can help you remain organized and select the best options for your situation.

Source: California Department of Health Care Services, "All Inclusive Care For The Eldery (PACE)," accessed Dec. 11, 2015

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