Can You Receive Medicaid Assistance to Pay for In-Home Care?
One-half of all nursing home residents in the United States receive assistance from Medicaid to pay for their care. Given that many people would prefer to live at home, and in-home care is typically less expensive than nursing home care, it would seem to make sense for Medicaid to cover in-home care as well.
What Home Care Services Are Covered by Medicare?
The good news is that all 50 states now have Medicaid programs offering at least some form of home care. In fact, many states even allow family members to be paid for providing in-home care to loved ones who are Medicaid recipients. Here are just a few of the home care services covered by Medicaid in some states:
- Personal care, such as assistance with bathing and eating
- Help with household chores like shopping or laundry
- Caregiver support
- Minor modifications to the home to make it more accessible
- Medical equipment
Unfortunately, access to Medicaid for home care varies widely by state. How is this possible?
How Are Medicaid Programs Different Among the States?
One reason is that Medicaid is a joint federal-state program. Each state has a Medicaid system of its own. This helps explain why eligibility rules and services differ from one state to the next and why some states use different names for Medicaid, such as MaineCare in Maine, MassHealth in Massachusetts, and Medi-Cal in California.
Another reason is that Medicaid home care services are generally provided through what are known as “waiver” programs. This can prove problematic, particularly for those of us who live in Maryland. The waiver program in Maryland has a 10-year waiting list! For all intents and purposes, a new applicant in Maryland cannot receive Medicaid assistance for home care (or for assisted living).
In the District of Columbia, however, as long as you qualify for Medicaid, you can receive eight hours of care per day at home or up to 16 hours if you qualify for the Elderly and Persons with Physical Disabilities (EPD) Waiver Program.
Are There Changes Coming to the Waiver Program?
You should know that in the last legislative session I testified in support of a bill that would have substantially altered the waiver program in Maryland. Sadly, the bill did not pass. Those who oppose the bill claim that it would swell the number of applicants and cause a significant increase in the overall budget.
Others, like myself, argue that although more people might qualify, the cost per applicant would be reduced significantly. I am hopeful that the waiver program in Maryland will eventually allow more Medicaid recipients to receive assistance for in-home care, but the short-term outlook is not good.
Get Experienced Help From an Elder Law Attorney
Clifford M. Cohen has more than 35 years of experience and dedicates his practice to guiding aging individuals in the Maryland and D.C. area through all facets of elder law care. Contact us today at 202-895-2799 for a free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medicaid
Will Medicaid pay for in-home care?
All 50 states have Medicaid programs offering some form of home care, and many states allow family members to be paid for providing in-home care to loved ones who are Medicaid recipients. Other home care services covered by Medicaid in some states include personal care, help with household chores like shopping or laundry, and caregiver support.
What home care services are funded by Medicaid?
Home care services funded by Medicaid in some states cover a wide range of care, including personal care like assistance with bathing and eating, household chores, modifications to the home to make it accessible, and medical equipment. However, access to Medicaid for home care varies widely by state.
What are Medicaid home care services?
As a joint federal-state program, each state has a Medicaid system of its own, so eligibility rules and services differ from one state to the next. Medicaid home care services are generally provided through “waiver” programs. The waiver program in Maryland has a waiting list.