When your loved one's care is on the line, it's tough to think about the cost. However, paying for long-term care is a harsh reality for many families. Medicare and Medicaid help pay for some types of care, but not for others. They also may not cover all costs. Private insurance also may only cover certain things. Whatever options you have, it's best to plan ahead. Think about your choices before you need to make a decision. It can help you feel prepared when the time comes. Here's an overview of what to expect from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. Medicare Coverage The federal government runs Medicare. You must meet certain criteria—typically age or illness—to get Medicare benefits. Medicare does not cover long-term care unless you require skilled medical care. For example, Medicare won't pay for services to help you with daily tasks, such as dressing, bathing or feeding, if these are the only services you need. Medicare usually covers the following: Care in a long-term-care hospital. These hospitals are for people recovering from a medical illness or injury. You go back home when you are better. Doctor visits and other medical care you need, including surgeries. It may also include wheelchairs and walkers if you need them because of a medical condition. Hospice and respite care. These are end-of-life services to help you stay comfortable when you are no longer trying to treat or cure your illness. Skilled nursing care in a nursing facility, including services like caring for wounds or injuries. It also includes speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Skilled nursing care in your home if you need a nurse or other healthcare provider. This includes physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy at home. Medicare will not cover 24-hour care in your home. Medicaid Coverage State and federal governments jointly run Medicaid programs. Medicaid is different in every state. You must qualify for Medicaid based on how much money you make and your health conditions. Medicaid helps people who cannot afford costly healthcare they need. Medicaid generally helps cover more long-term care services than Medicare including: Nursing home care Rehabilitation services to help you get better after an illness or injury Services both in and out of the hospital Services in your home if you cannot leave your home Skilled nursing care Visits to doctors' offices Not all states provide the same benefits and coverage. Check with your state for a complete list of services available to you. Private Insurance You may need to use some of your savings to pay for long-term care. You can also purchase long-term care insurance. This gives you more options to choose the care you need. Private long-term care insurance can help pay for services that Medicare and Medicaid do not cover. However, these policies can be expensive. Regular private insurance plans may pay for nursing and personal care services in your own home. Some plans pay for physical therapy and other types of therapy. They may also pay for services and special housing for people with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Other private insurance plans cover assisted living and nursing home care. Do you research to find a plan that meets your needs.