How Medicaid Changes Affect Home Care
As my readers already know, the eligibility rules for Medicaid changed drastically ten years ago in February, 2006, with the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). It then became more challenging (albeit not impossible) to help clients needing nursing home care to become eligible. This relates to the way the lookback and penalty periods are calculated under the new regulations. As many already know, when a person is in the nursing home and a Medicaid application is filed, the agency “looks back” over the last five years to see if the applicant has transferred any assets. If so, a penalty period will ensue.
However, many people are not aware that in New York, there is no lookback period and no penalty period for Medicaid Home Care. In other words, we can transfer assets out of a senior’s name and apply for Medicaid to pay for home health aides immediately. Thus, we are still able to do a lot to help seniors who need a home health aide in the home but are afraid of depleting their assets and becoming penniless.
Most people I speak with would prefer to remain in the home as long as possible. With proper care in the house, a senior is typically able to stay home longer. For one thing, a senior’s health may stay in tact much longer if he or she is getting proper nutrition and hydration, regular medical checkups and receiving supervision with walking and getting around to avoid falls. This basic care can keep a senior healthy and functional for years longer than may otherwise be possible.
There may come a time when a senior needs a nursing home level of care. However, it is just as possible that having care in the home may prevent the need to ever put that person in a nursing home.
The process of getting someone eligible for home care and applying for it takes at least 3 months, if not longer. Thus, it is important to plan ahead and seek help as soon as you believe home care may be needed. Ask us to explain the different types of home care available to you.
To your health!
Lori R. Somekh