Thursday, October 25, 2012

Medicaid's Benefits for Home Care

We've just published the results from a major effort in which we researched Medicaid's home care benefits in all 50 states. The good news from our research is that Medicaid, in every state, has at least one program that will help families and aging individuals to care for their loved ones at home.

Additional good news is that Medicaid's care at home is not limited to personal assistance with the activities of daily living. In fact, Medicaid will cover a broad range of different support services that help the individual remain living in their home. Furthermore, Medicaid's assistance is not just limited to the individual who requires care. Many states provide assistance to family members and caregivers as well. Assistance such as respite care and caregiver training can be included. Lastly, we found Medicaid's home care assistance programs were provided both in the form of Medicaid waivers (which are not entitlements) and Medicaid State Plans (which are entitlements).

Now our enthusiasm must be tempered somewhat with our other findings. The majority (though not an overwhelming majority) of assistance programs were in the form of Medicaid waivers. Medicaid waivers limit enrollment. Individuals may be qualified but if the enrollment cap has been met, they are put on a waiting list. Waiting list times can last from a few months to many months.

For individuals who may not qualify for Medicaid or who are spending down assets to gain eligibility. Our state by state guide also provides links to each state's non-Medicaid programs that provide assistance for home care. Unfortunately, only about 50% of the states offer specific, non-Medicaid assistance to help elderly individuals remain living at home.

Visit our State by State Guide to Medicaid Home Care.