Medicaid Offers New Home Health Option

Over ten years ago, a woman in New Jersey heeded home care with basic daily needs after a serious illness.  Medicaid would pay for a home health worker to come into her home and help care for her; however the overtaxed New Jersey home health care system had no available workers. 

The woman’s daughter did not know what else to do besides putting her in a nursing home.  Before that happened, however, an alternative idea was that the Medicaid funds could be used for the woman to hire family to take care of her.

Through this first small step for Medicaid, but huge step for this individual’s family, the Cash and Counseling program began.  Grants were given to New Jersey, Arkansas and Florida to pilot the program, and since that time in the late 1990’s, this program has spread to many states in the country.

It has been an excellent program for any reasons.  One situation is that the individual is being taken care of at home by their family and not a stranger.  They are in familiar place, where statistics show that they will have better resources, more interaction with family and friends, and less isolation and loneliness, all of which lead to faster and stronger recovery.  In addition, staying at home and not in a nursing home is certainly much more cost effective and will definitely help the person’s health stay or become more stable.

The federal government has made it easier to participate in this program because it has eliminated the requirement for people to get a Medicaid waiver to participate.  According to AARP, this will save a tremendous amount of money.  AARP says that home health care costs about a half of what care in a nursing facility costs, and most individuals and their families prefer to stay at home to be cared for unless they are extremely ill or frail.

If you or someone in your family or circle of friends are in this situation, be sure to contact Medicaid at www.medicaid.gov to get further information.  It is quite possible that health care can be continued at home with the comfort of being surrounded by family and friends. 

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