Medicaid: Is It What Your Senior Loved One Needs?

FACT: there are more than 40 million people in the United States who are 65 years old or older.

Over one third of these elders have household incomes below 200% of the poverty threshold — $20,916 for individuals and $26,388 for couples.

In excess of 5 million of these seniors need long term care assistance to complete their activities of daily living.  Those who have chronic medical conditions that are disabling require even more extensive support as they age.

Is your senior family member among those with limited resources who need help in order to receive necessary care? Are you filling the gap, caring for them as you care for the needs of your family and yourself as an unpaid caregiver?

Medicaid Benefit Facts for Your Senior Love One

  • Medicaid helps seniors, especially those with limited income or resources, to pay for the care and assistance they may need.
  • Medicaid coverage will provide a variety of medical and support services for eligible seniors who can’t perform one or more activities of daily living (ADLs/IADLs) themselves without help.
  • ADLs include: dressing, bathing or showering, grooming, toileting, eating, feeding themselves, functional mobility (moving from place to place), personal medical device care, and walking.
  • IADLs or instrumental activities of daily living are those duties that allow someone to live independently and include cooking, shopping, housework, taking medications correctly, managing finances, using transportation, and using technology (including the telephone).
  • Medicaid benefits will also be available when certain medical conditions or disabilities are present, including cognitive impairment.
  • Over 60% of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid for assistance, however, Medicaid also covers services provided in the home or community setting for those who are able to age in place.
  • Medicaid is administered by states and financed by both the state and federal governments.
  • In 2009, Medicaid provided $81 billion in medical care for 6 million elderly beneficiaries by providing for home health, personal care, medical equipment, therapy, adult day care, case management, home modifications, transportation and respite care for caregivers.

If your senior is eligible for Medicaid assistance, you will need to complete the application process at your state’s Medicaid office, including providing financial information and proof of medical or functional needs for ADLs/IADLs.  Some states allow online applications. The rules and requirements vary from state to state, since each state sets its own guidelines for services. You can apply for your senior but need all the appropriate information available to you.

It may take time to fully process your senior’s application and get the benefits started, but you will likely find your time investment getting your senior benefits for which they are eligible to be worth it in the end.

You have many challenges when caring for your senior loved ones but paying for care for which they are entitled shouldn’t be one – – especially when help is available.

We would love to hear your experiences, especially lessons you’ve learned the hard way that you can help others avoid!