PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. PACE stands for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly.
With PACE, the focus is on you — you have a team of health care professionals working with you and your family to make sure you get the coordinated care you need. Your team is experienced in caring for people like you. Usually they care for a small number of people, so they really get to know you.
When you enroll in PACE, you may be required to use a PACE-preferred doctor. These doctors are best suited to help you make health care decisions.
How does PACE work?
PACE organizations provide care and services in the home, the community, and the PACE center. They have contracts with many specialists and other providers in the community to make sure that you get the care you need. Many PACE participants get most of their care from staff employed by the PACE organization in the PACE center. PACE centers meet state and federal safety requirements.
Who can get PACE?
You can have either Medicare or Medicaid, or both, to join PACE. PACE is only available in some states that offer PACE under Medicaid. To qualify for PACE, you must:
- Be 55 or older
- Live in the service area of a PACE organization
- Need a nursing home-level of care (as certified by your state)
- Be able to live safely in the community with help from PACE
You can leave a PACE program at any time.
What does PACE cover?
PACE provides all the care and services covered by Medicare and Medicaid if authorized by your health care team. If your health care team decides you need care and services that Medicare and Medicaid doesn't cover, PACE may still cover them.
Here are some of the services PACE covers:
- Adult day primary care (including doctor and recreational therapy nursing services)
- Emergency services
- Home care
- Hospital care
- Laboratory/x-ray services
- Medical specialty services
- Nursing home care
- Nutritional counseling
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drugs
If you join a PACE program, you'll get your Part D-covered drugs and all other necessary medication from the PACE program. You don't need to join a separate Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If you do, you'll be disenrolled from your PACE health and prescription drug benefits.
- Preventive care
- Social services, including caregiver training, support groups, and respite care
- Social work counseling
- Transportation to the PACE center for activities or medical appointments, if medically necessary. You may also be able to get transportation to some medical appointments in the community.
How to apply for PACE
What you pay for PACE depends on your financial situation
If you don't qualify for Medicaid but you have Medicare, you'll be charged these:
- A monthly premium to cover the long-term care portion of the PACE benefit
- A premium for Medicare Part D drugs
If you don't have Medicare or Medicaid, you can pay for PACE privately.