Medicaid, Nursing Homes & Home Care Options

When it comes to long-term care options paid for by Medicaid, nursing homes are the first thing most people think of. However, other options, including home care and assisted living, are available through Ohio’s PASSPORT and Assisted Living programs.

Of particular interest to many elderly Ohio residents is the PASSPORT program, which recently received renewed funding through the year 2013. This program pays for home and community-based services that keep folks out of nursing homes.

I know that many of the elderly clients at our Dayton, Ohio lawyer’s office want to avoid nursing homes and remain independent, but have long-term care needs. This Ohio program can help them achieve that while still having those care needs covered. Nursing homes are no longer the only option for Medicaid-funded long-term care.

Medicaid: Nursing Homes No Longer the Only Option for Long-Term Care

Ohio Medicaid’s program for home- and community-based long-term care services, called PASSPORT (Pre-Admission Screening Providing Options and Resources Today), covers a variety of services for eligible individuals as long as they are part of an approved care plan.

Services covered include:

  • Nursing care
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Personal care
  • Respite care
  • Counseling
  • Homemaker services
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Nutritional consultation
  • Chore services
  • Adaptive and assisting devices
  • Home medical equipment
  • Medications
  • Home health case management

Under a new program called an Assisted Living Waiver, assisted living costs can also be paid for by Medicaid. Nursing homes are very expensive and estimates by the federal government suggest that Medicaid can support three elderly individuals through assisted living and home-care services for the same cost as support for one person in a nursing home. So an Assisted Living Waiver allows eligible individuals to stay in an assisted living facility, rather than a nursing home, when those costs, at the time of application, don’t exceed 60% of the cost of staying in a nursing home. (The costs can increase up to 100% of nursing home costs once you are on the program.)

However, be aware that Medicaid only picks up the tab after the first six months of living in an assisted living facility. Prepare to pay six months’ worth of assisted living costs before taking advantage of this opportunity. The only exception to this rule is for individuals transferred to the assisted living facility directly from a hospital or nursing home. In this case, Ohio’s Medicaid program pays the bill right from the start.

Also be aware that, in order for the Assisted Living Waiver program to pay for assisted living or home-care services, the facility or service provider needs to be a participant in the program. Rooms at assisted living facilities also need to meet eligibility requirements.

If you or a loved one needs long-term care at home or an assisted living facility to be paid for by Medicaid and nursing homes are not desirable, speak with an Ohio lawyer familiar with estate planning and Ohio’s Medicaid program. They help you determine if this is a good option for you and whether you qualify. An attorney can also help you put your assets in order to improve your chances for eligibility.

Read more about Medicaid, nursing homes and other elder law concerns.