Medicaid wants its senior customers to be safe, but prefers to keep them safe in a financially efficient manner. In this sense, the government agency benefits from the fact that aging customers live in their home rather than in a long-term care facility.
Genworth, a Virginia-based long-term care insurance provider, conducts an annual survey of the cost of caring for retirees. The average price for a month in a private room in a nursing home was $ 8,821 in 2020. A semi-private room costs $ 7,756 per month.
To help customers stay at home longer – even if they need help – all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a program through Medicaid that allows customers to select a family caregiver who is paid for with Medicaid funds. In many states, they can select a friend or family member, often an adult child or spouse, to be their caregiver.
“The vast majority of older adults want to stay in their homes as they age, and the ability to pay for a friend or family member for their daily necessities can make that possible,” said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute. “The pandemic has pushed states to expand this option and we hope many of them will make their policy changes permanent.
“Paying family carers is a solution that will save states money and meet the growing need for long-term care.”
How to Become a Paid Carer for a Family Member
Customers need to demonstrate that they need a certain level of care, and caregivers need to show that they are able to provide that care. If the client needs medical care and the family member is not trained for it, he cannot be designated as a caregiver.
The amount of money family carers receive varies based on state Medicaid programs, the individual’s need for care, and the average home helper wage in each state. The programs that can be used to pay family carers also have different names and have different caveats and benefits in each state:
- No home and community-based services are offered by the majority of states. However, many have a limited number of these exemptions so there may be a waiting list. This waiver enables the Medicaid participant to hire a friend or relative as a personal care assistant. This is also known as the 1915 C waiver.
- The Self-directed government plan option for personal support services enables a Medicaid participant to hire, train, and pay for their chosen personal hygiene assistant. Based on the budget that Medicaid offers, the participant decides what the assistant pays. A unique part of this option is that the participant pays wage taxes to the assistant. A mediator helps with this financial aspect of the process.
- Community First Choice, also known as an option of the 1915 state plan, actually applies to Medicaid recipients who are in nursing homes but need personal care services. Rather than paying extra for someone in the facility to provide this care, this option allows friends or family members to help with bathing, grooming, light housekeeping and transportation. According to the American Council on Aging, the following nine states offer this option: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Montana, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
- With the Caretaker child exemptionMedicaid does not pay the adult child wages for the care of his or her parents, but enables the parents’ house to be transferred to the adult child as a means of payment. This comes into play when an elderly Medicaid participant moves into a nursing home but would not qualify for Medicaid because they own their home.
Learn more about Medicaid
Medicaid eligibility in general, not just for these programs and waivers, is not consistent across the country. As a general rule of thumb, as of 2021, senior applicants cannot have more than $ 2,382 in income and $ 2,000 in assets.
A country-specific authorization can be found Here. If a senior is already enrolled at Medicaid, the next step is to contact their state’s Medicaid office.
The American Council on Aging strongly recommends finding one Medicaid planner to help apply for supervisory positions and other benefits.
Katherine Snow Smith works for The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com