Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Medicaid Q-A: Can Mom keep her benefits if she moves here from another state?

This is a tough one.  I have a client who wants to move her 90-year-old mother from New York to Washington State.  She's in a nursing home there.  If Mom moves, can she transfer her benefits?

The answer:  It's possible, but not easy.  Medicaid programs are funded through a combination of federal and state funds, and each state has its own program, setting rules regarding eligibility and the application process.

In order for Mom to receive benefits in her new state, she must disenroll in the state where she has lived.  That means someone on her behalf connects with DSHS to tell them about the move so her benefits will be stopped. 

For Mom to receive Medicaid in her new state, Washington, she must establish residency.  She can submit her Medicaid application on day one, when she moves in. (That assumes someone has completed it on her behalf.) The application process isn't immediate.  According to DSHS, applications are taking about two months to process.  The approval includes establishing financial and medical need.

What happens during that waiting period?  Sometimes an adult child can afford to pay privately for care--usually in an adult family home, until benefits are approved.  Another possibility is to bring Mom into the family home temporarily until Medicaid funding is sure.

During that interim time, her medical benefits will be limited until Medicaid kicks in.

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