As part of our elder law practice, we have performed thousands of long-term care Medicaid applications for Florida residents. There is no such thing as an easy Medicaid application, but a good elder law attorney, like us, can help the elder and their families in often difficult times. But what if your family member/elder lives out of state and wants to move to Florida to get Medicaid? This article will explore moving your loved one to Florida and how it fits into a Florida Medicaid application to help pay for long-term care.
Basic Requirements for Long-Term Care Medicaid
Medicaid is the joint Federal/State welfare program to help with the costs of Medical care for disabled and elderly people who qualify. In order for Medicaid in Florida to help with long-term care costs (i.e., nursing home, assisted living or in-home care), there are some basic requirements everyone must meet:
- Citizenship/Noncitizen Status: A Medicaid recipient must either be a U.S. Citizen or a qualified non-citizen
- Residency: A Medicaid recipient must be a Florida resident to get Medicaid in Florida (more discussed below)
- Aged/Blind/Disabled: A Medicaid recipient must be aged (over age 65), blind or disabled (according to the rules of Social Security)
- Level of Care: there are essentially two types of level of care needed to get Medicaid
- Nursing Home Level of Care: this is determined by the State of Florida CARES Unit, but is says the applicant needs skilled, intermediate or custodial care.
- Triage for the HCBS Waitlist: If the applicant is not in the nursing home, the local Aging Resource Center will determine the individual's healthcare neeeds. We have more information on the triage process and Medicaid waitlist here.
- File for Other Benefits: Medicaid is a payer of last resort, so the applicant must file for all other benefits, such as disability insurance, trusts created for their benefit (excluding special needs trusts), veteran's benefits and more.
- Transfer/Gifting Rules: The applicant must not have made disqualifying gifts/transfers within 5 years of the Medicaid Application.
- Must meet income/asset qualification test: I have much more information on Medicaid qualification on this webpage.
What is a Florida Resident?
A Florida resident is anyone in Florida who has the intent to stay in Florida. Essentially, this means that if your loved one is in Florida, however temporary, they can be a Florida resident for long-term care purposes. So - if your loved one is in New York and the family wants to move him/her to Florida for care purposes, your loved one is a Florida resident as soon as they move to Florida. Nice and easy.
How Does Florida Help with Long-Term Care Costs?
Florida Medicaid helps pay for the costs of nursing home (the Institutional Care Program, a/k/a ICP Medicaid) and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS Medicaid), which pays for care in assisted living or at home. Both programs have the same financial eligibility requirements but the application procedure differs in certain ways due to the triage process (level of care) mentioned above.
How Much Financial Help Does HCBS Provide?
HCBS Medicaid helps with long-term care costs for at home or in assisted living Medicaid. This is important:
- For assisted living costs, Medicaid provides a monthly benefit of $1,200-$1,500. This is not a lot of money if the applicant needs memory care that costs $7,000/month!
- For in-home care, Medicaid may provide help of around 15-20 hours of in-home care per week. While more hours can be provided, I have not seen this as standard operating procedure. Basically, for Medicaid to provide a lot of help, the family will need an in-home advocate and the elder will need medically necessary care.
- as I understand, New York Medicaid commonly pay for 24/7 in-home care. Contrast the standard 15-20 hours of in-home care in Florida.
What this means is that if the family wants Florida Medicaid, you need to know that each state is different in the benefits provided!
What if My Loved One is on Medicaid Already?
Just because you are on Medicaid in one state does not transfer Medicaid to Florida. While the financial qualifications are often similar/the same, you would need to apply for Medicaid once you arrive in Florida.
Can our Law Firm Help?
Yes! We apply for Medicaid for people all over Florida. We charge $200 for a phone call with an elder law attorney who can help decide if a lawyer can help. In particular, this is how our law firm can help:
- Nursing Home Application: once you are in a Florida nursing home, we can help apply for Medicaid. Specifically, a nursing home may not want to accept a resident unless they know an elder law attorney is doing the Medicaid application!
- Assisted Living Medicaid: We can help walk you through the triage process and apply for Medicaid, when appropriate.
- Asset Protection: While not everyone will need asset protection, there are legal ways to protect your money/assets from the nursing home with our law firm.
Please fill out our Get Help Now (above left) and we will be glad to help.