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Medicaid, the single largest source of health coverage in the US, provides funding for numerous programs in a continuum of settings, such as Aging in Place and Community Medicaid. However, from the onset, it was established to provide a safety net for seniors in need of Long Term Care. Today, if somebody needs ongoing assistance with the basic activities of daily living (such as dressing, bathing, eating, and getting in and out of a chair) and is otherwise eligible, they have two options of Medicaid coverage:
Institutional Care– A system that provides coverage for a residential facility that offers comprehensive benefits including room and board.
Home and Community Based Care: A community Medicaid system that covers an array of services that affords older or disabled individuals the opportunity of aging in place and maintaining their independence.
Traditional Medicare, the Federal insurance for those aged 65 and above and specified disabled individuals, is not a stand-alone health insurance program. While Medicare Part A will cover hospital visits and limited stays in a skilled nursing facility, and the optional Medicare Part B, does insure some Medical expenses, the gaps in coverage are yawning and significant. Medicaid was established to fill in those gaps. Benefits vary state to state, but across the board they are far more comprehensive than those provided by Medicare alone.
In recognition of the numerous physical and emotional health benefits associated with remaining at home and maintaining independence, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services partnered with the States to offer a Community Medicaid program that would allow those with limited funds and assets control over the services they receive, who provides them, and most importantly, where they are provided. The opportunity to choose and remain within a comfortable and familiar setting drastically improves the quality of life.
Recent studies conducted by AARP show that 90% of those 65 or above would love to stay at home for aging in place as long as possible. And with good reason. When it is doable, the benefits to aging in place cannot be understated.
• Independence: After earning, exercising, and cherishing it their entire adult lives, not many are keen to let their independence go, even at an advanced age. Home means an environment where you are entirely in control of what you experience, and the freedom to choose when you eat your next meal, and who your service providers will be.
• Health: While skilled nursing facilities offer the highest level of care outside of the hospital, there is a health advantage to aging in place. When people live together in a home, germs spread quickly. Aging in Place can help avoid common cold and flu epidemics, and all the havoc they wreak on an already compromised immune systems.
• Routines: Change is not easy on anyone, but uprooting a lifetime of developed routines can be exceedingly disruptive and disconcerting. At this advanced stage in the game, it can be quite difficult to adapt to a whole new lifestyle, and many would prefer to just keep things status quo.
• Social Connections: Aging in place offers the benefit of being surrounded by familiar faces and places. Social isolation is one of the primary problems seniors face today, and it can be avoided all together if they remain within the community they lived their whole lives, keeping the friendships and relationships they built over the years.
Although the exact benefits community Medicaid offers vary state to state, the coverage is designed to keep the beneficiary comfortably at home for as long as possible.