Moving homes can have a greater impact on Medicaid eligibility than you may have considered. Healthcare — especially the long-term care often covered by Medicaid — is expensive, so moving your aging parent to a new state without checking to ensure that she will keep her benefits could be a costly mistake.
More than 4.6 million seniors in the United States rely on Medicaid and Medicare to cover the costs of their medical care, according to Medicaid.gov. Failing to understand the eligibility requirements when making a move could mean that your loved one misses out on necessary benefits.
Medicaid Eligibility Laws
Medicaid provides coverage across all states, so seniors can apply for benefits the same day that they move to a new state. Moving, however, can create other eligibility issues that you should be aware of before your senior moves across state lines.
While the federal government sets assets and income requirements for Medicaid, there are a number of other eligibility requirements set on an individual state level, as Medicaid.gov details. If, after moving homes, you find that Medicaid eligibility is more stringent in your new state, it’s possible that the senior you care for may no longer qualify for the benefits she was receiving in her previous state.
State Medicaid regulations regarding monetary gifts and home ownership vary. Some states say that you cannot be eligible for Medicaid for a certain period after a large gift, while others don’t count family gifts against eligibility. Some states also consider the family’s home as an asset, while others do not.
Certain federal waiver programs that your aging loved one would want to access may not be offered in some states, so moving could result in significant benefit changes. Seniors may have to sign up for a lengthy waiting list for waiver services in some states for benefits they already received in their old state.
Weighing the Options
It is vital to understand the rules of Medicaid eligibility in the new state before moving homes; it could be an expensive mistake to fail to take this under consideration when going through your senior’s options. The best way to determine how a move, a new financial-planning strategy, or a monetary gift will affect Medicare eligibility is to discuss your options with a senior care-focused attorney in the new state at least a year before moving.
Moving homes can affect Medicaid eligibility and a number of other public benefits. Even if your loved ones are eligible for benefits such as Medicaid in their home state, the requirements may be more stringent in the new one. If caring for a senior is part of your considerations when deciding to move, the state-level Medicaid requirements must be addressed.
If you’ve moved a senior loved one into your home, consider a medical alert system — the additional support can bring extra peace of mind to both caregivers and seniors.