4 Common Questions About Medicaid Benefits For Assisted Living

Posted on

Jun 02, 2021

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Paying for assisted living doesnt all have to be from your own pocket. One preferred way to pay is through Medicaid.
Medicaid is a state-administered public health insurance program that gives health care coverage to families or individuals with low incomes. It is the leading government-assistance program for long-term care and assisted living.
Here are 5 common questions people ask about Medicaid and helping to pay for assisted living.
1. Does Medicaid Pay for Assisted Living?
Medicaid will help cover the cost of assisted living, including memory care, or Alzheimers care. Eligibility requirements must be met (see below for more). Such requirements, available programs and benefits vary based on your state of residence.
The cost of skilled nursing and emergency response systems also may be covered. Medicaid will not, however, cover room and board, which usually accounts for approximately half the cost of assisted living.
Most states have a regular state Medicaid program along with Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waivers. Although states offer personal care assistance through Medicaid, some offer only through state plans, some through the waivers, and some through a combination.
2. How Much Does Medicaid Pay For Assisted Living?
The amount Medicaid will pay depends on several factors, including:

State of residence
The state Medicaid program
Level of care needed

A needs assessment is usually required to calculate the number of hours that Medicaid will cover. For example, those with a greater need for assistance can get a greater amount of caregiver hours per month.
3. How Do I Find Out If Im Eligible For Medicaid?
Eligibility criteria will vary by state. The general requirements are that individuals:

Spend almost all of existing assets toward care
Are low-income earners or have medical-related care expenses that exceed income
Live in the state where they are receiving benefits
Be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen

Financial need
In general, state Medicaid plans limit applicant income to 100% of the Federal Poverty Level or 100% of the Federal Benefit Rate. For the Medicaid Waiver, an applicants income must not be more than 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate. Assets are usually limited to $2,000 for both state plans and Medicaid Waivers.
Functional need
Applicants generally must require a nursing level of care or be facing institutionalization. The definitions vary by state.
Some states may require applicants to need assistance with two activities of daily living, such as:

Dressing and undressing
Cutting up their food and eating
Using the toilet and cleaning up
Moving from a bed to a chair

Some programs require a physician statement. Also, a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease isnt an automatic qualifier for benefits.
Visit the Medicaid websitefor more on eligibility. It provides information about:

Eligibility and how to apply
How to locate a Medicaid office
How to use Medicare and Medicaid at the same time (dual enrollment)

Also, contact a State Medical Assistance Officefor more details.
4. Which Services Will Medicaid Cover?
The types of services covered by Medicaid will vary based on state programs. But the typical services paid for by Medicaid for those in assisted living include:

Personal care assistance, which includes help with dressing, bathing, toileting and eating
Specialized home care services, including house cleaning, laundry, shopping for groceries and other essentials, and meal preparation
Transportation
Case management
Personal emergency response systems

Medicaid will not pay for the room and board portion of assisted living.

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