Myth or Fact? Medicaid only pays for nursing home care.

This is a MYTH!

Medicaid is the government program that pays for health care for people who qualify. It is an entitlement program that has both asset and income limits. Medicaid is administered at the state level and here in Massachusetts we call Medicaid “MassHealth.”

MassHealth is not just one health insurance program, but a myriad of programs that cover eligible members from birth until death. Many people know that MassHealth is the state’s low-income health insurance and that MassHealth covers long-term care. What people do not know about are the many other programs under the MassHealth umbrella, most designed to keep elders at home and out of a nursing home. To highlight just a couple:

PACE – Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. This is a program available for adults over the age of 55 who financially and medically qualify. Covered services include primary and specialty care physicians, adult day centers, visiting nurses, home care, transportation to medical appointments, physical and occupational therapy, behavioral health services, nutrition counseling and much more. PACE even has contracts with some assisted living facilities that can assist with rent payments. The PACE program on the South Shore is administered by Harbor Health in Brockton.

FEW – Frail Elder Waiver. This program is for adults over the age of 65 who financially qualify and medically meet the needs of nursing home level of care. This program supports elders in staying in their homes to receive the care that they need. The care that can be provided includes home health aides, personal care, homemakers, respite care, skilled nursing, grocery shopping, laundry, medication dispensing, mobility services, and transportation, among many others.

My main point is that there are services provided by the state for people who need them; they just need to know where to look. As an elder law attorney, I rely on local Councils of Aging, Aging Services Access Points, and Elder Service Plans to be able to counsel my clients in the programs that they may qualify for. If you are curious, I would encourage you to meet with your local Council on Aging to see what programs are available to you.

Elizabeth A. Caruso, Esq. is an attorney at Legacy Legal Planning, LLC, in Norwell, Massachusetts. She has been practicing estate planning, probate, and elder law on the South Shore for over a decade. If this article has sparked questions for you, please feel free to reach out via phone 781-971-5900 or email to schedule a time to discuss your unique situation.