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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Should I Apply for Medicaid Through My Nursing Home?

Alabama has three primary Medicaid programs for those with disabilities and the elderly. One of these programs, called Institutional Medicaid, pays for care in nursing homes, hospitals and ICF-IID facilities (Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disability) for Alabama residents who qualify. You might wonder if you should to apply for Medicaid through your nursing home. Although the Alabama Institutional Medicaid program pays for nursing home expenses, you should not apply for Medicaid benefits through your nursing home.

How to Apply for Alabama Institutional Medicaid

You must submit your application to the correct worker or office for processing. Contact the Alabama Medicaid Agency at 1-800-362-1504 (toll-free) for the location of the office in your area. Complete the application and put it in a box or folder with all the supporting documents. Submit the entire package to your local Medicaid office or worker. Keep a copy of your application and all documentation. If you have questions about your application, talk to an experienced Medicaid applications lawyer first.

Documents to Submit with Your Application

You have to provide documentation of your income and assets for the 60-month “look back” period before you filed your application.

Income Documentation can include:

  • Earned income/wages
  • Retirement and pension income
  • Benefits received, such as Veterans (VA) and Social Security (SSA)
  • Rental income
  • Dividends and interest
  • Other sources of income

Asset Documentation can include:

  • Insurance policies – Medicaid Part D, life, long-term care
  • Annuities
  • Titles to personal property (vehicles) and real estate
  • Wills and trusts
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments and financial accounts
  • Other assets

How to Speed Up the Application Review Process

Medicaid can only cover expenses for up to three months before the application was submitted, so you should apply as soon as possible. The application process can take a while, so procrastination is not in your best interests.

To prevent delay in approval of your application, you need to verify whether you are eligible for funding from any other benefits program, such as the Veterans Administration. Having to check this later can put a hold on your application review.

Who is Eligible for Institutional Medicaid in Alabama?

  • State residency and citizenship requirements. You must be an Alabama resident and be either a United States citizen or a legal immigrant.
  • Resident of nursing home. You must live in the nursing home for at least 30 days before applying for Medicaid nursing home benefits, unless you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Medical approval. The nursing home cannot receive payment unless Medicaid or Medicare approves that you meet the medical requirements for needing long-term care in a nursing home.
  • Income limits. Your income must not exceed the monthly limit, which can change every year in January. The income limit for 2017 is $2,205 per month for an individual.
  • Asset limits. You cannot own more than $2,000 in assets if you want to be eligible for Alabama Medicaid nursing home benefits. If your assets exceed $2,000 on the first day of any month, you will lose your Medicaid eligibility. Not every asset counts toward this number. Your estate planning lawyer will walk you through the rules about which assets count and which ones are exempt.

The rules discussed in this posting can change at any time.  Be sure to talk with an experienced Alabama Medicaid applications attorney today.


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