Understanding Medicaid to Manage Long-Term Care

The cost of long-term care can quickly deplete even the most robust savings plans, particularly given the quality of medical care and life expectancy in the U.S. That’s why it’s so important to understand how federal programs like Medicaid work and how they can supplement – or even replace – your personal savings. Successfully navigating the ins and outs of this federal program can have a significant financial impact on you and your family.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is typically a joint federal/state program providing health coverage for certain categories of people with low incomes and limited resources, though Alabama is one of only 14 states that do not offer a state Medicaid program. Still, more than 1.2 million Alabamians qualify for federal Medicaid coverage, which support doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes that serve all Alabamians.

Who is covered?

Medicaid provides essential medical coverage for seniors, including nursing home care and long-term care. More than 25 percent of Alabamians qualified for Medicaid coverage in fiscal year 2017, including two in every three nursing home residents and one in every five seniors.

How do you know if you’re eligible for Medicaid coverage in Alabama?

When you apply for Medicaid, a number of factors will determine whether you’re eligible and which program would best serve your needs. Generally, there are two types of eligibility requirements: medical qualifications and financial qualifications.

  • Medical qualifications: As a rule, anyone should qualify if they need ongoing skilled nursing care, is mentally impaired with Alzheimer’s/dementia, or cannot care for themselves. Even if skilled nursing care isn’t required, many Medicaid programs link eligibility to the number of activities of daily living an individual can’t do alone, including dressing, bathing, eating, cooking, etc.
  • Financial qualifications: When determining eligibility for Medicaid long-term care, both income and assets are financial consideration factors for elderly applicants and have limitations for qualification. It is important to remember, though, that even if your income or assets exceed the stated limits, many individuals can still qualify for Medicaid with careful planning.

The surest way to determine Medicaid eligibility is to apply directly online or visiting your local county health department. Remember that there are many factors that may impact your eligibility, so be sure to thoroughly review all relevant information for your application. You’ll find a comprehensive list of documents here. Also keep in mind that there are special rules regarding couples who share assets which may allow some or all of the assets – including the home of the couple – to be protected or set aside. In addition, some of the applicant’s income may be allocated to the other spouse.

If your parent or loved one is facing the possibility of long-term or nursing home care because living alone is no longer possible, it’s important to lay the financial foundation for this critical transition. The admissions director at facilities such as those managed by American Health Corporation – including three locations in Alabama – may also be able to help guide you through the complex process including insurance and federal programs such as Medicaid.

Contact the American Health Corporation nursing home in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:

Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383

Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054

Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696