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Does being on Medicaid limit nursing home choices?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2018 | Medicaid Planning / Nursing Home Planning |

Part of estate planning for your parents is finding out where they will stay for the remainder of their days. They could stay in their own home and receive care, they could move to an assisted living facility or they could go to a nursing home.

Of course, all these options cost money. Your parents may qualify for financial assistance from the government in the form of Medicaid. However, you may worry that being on this program will limit their facility choices. They cannot afford a luxurious place, but with so much elder abuse happening, neither do you want for them to be in a questionable nursing home. What should you do?

Most nursing homes accept Medicaid

A search on Medicare.gov reveals that there are 365 nursing homes in New Jersey, 340 of which accept Medicaid (about 93 percent). The site also offers ratings on each facility based on staffing, health inspections and quality of care. About 64 percent of all facilities with ratings (a small few were too new for reviews) scored four stars or higher, compared to about 62 percent of just the ones that accept Medicaid.

The difference is minimal, so there is no need to worry that Medicaid will affect the care your parents receive. In fact, those currently licensed and certified as Medicaid Nursing Facilities must follow all standards to maintain licensure and certification. Other factors are more influential in quality of care, making it important to do research on the facilities you are considering.

Medicaid makes care affordable

You may still think you have limited choices due to affordability, but Medicaid pays for full long-term medical care, excluding personal items and luxuries. Medicare only pays for limited services. The goal, then, is to qualify for Medicaid through careful planning. This can be challenging because regulations are complex and often confusing, so it is best to have professional help to ensure your parents do not make a mistake that will disqualify them.