I get the question often, "Mom is in a nursing home and living in Florida and we want to bring her up here to be close to us so we can care for her and visit her. She is on Medicaid."
Moving to Connecticut or New York on Medicaid
The bottom line is that she can move to Connecticut or New York and receive Medicaid in the new state, but it will not be easy.
Mom will need to move to Connecticut or New York and reapply for Medicaid. The state cannot deny coverage if mom is qualified and cannot impose any waiting periods after residency is established.
Since each state evaluates its applicants independently from each other state, those who want to transfer their coverage must re-apply for Medicaid in the new state.
Further complicating matters is the fact that someone cannot be eligible for Medicaid in two states at the same time. Therefore, in order to apply for Medicaid in a new state, mom must first close out their Medicaid coverage with the old state.
Moreover, most states require you to move to the state and establish residency first and then apply for Medicaid.
While most states have unique requirements, normally their income and assets limits are very similar as are the level of care requirements.
However, you need to be very careful and dot the i's and cross the t's to ensure mom is qualified and covered from day 1.
What You Need to Do to Transfer Medicaid
The best thing you can do when transferring states is to choose the nursing home first and coordinate with the Admissions team. The second thing you should do is get an elder care lawyer who is knowledgeable in these matters.
Some things you should do when transferring states on Medicaid are as follows:
1) Research both the old state's and the new state's Medicaid level of care requirements. Since some states have a higher level of care need, it may be possible for the new state to decline eligibility. To prevent this result, consider having mom assessed medically in the new state prior to giving up the old state's coverage.
2) You should also research the new state's Medicaid financial eligibility requirements to ensure qualification.
3) Generally, you will want to work with an elder lawyer or another Medicaid planning professional to make sure mom is eligible in Connecticut or New York and prepare all the necessary paperwork for application prior to moving.
4) Unfortunately, mom will probably ave to pay privately for their care for several weeks or months. Normally, they can be reimbursed by Medicaid but it not be at the same rate.
5) Timing is important since mom cannot be covered by Medicaid in two states at the same time. It is best to time the move around the end of the month.
6) Submit the application in the new state immediately upon making the move to the new state.
Home and Community Based Services through a Medicaid Waiver program
Things will really get difficult if mom is receiving Home and Community Based Services through a Medicaid Waiver program.
Medicaid Waivers are programs that allow individuals who would typically require nursing home care to receive care services at home, in assisted living residences and in adult day care. The requirements vary widely between states and you should be very careful on these moves.