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Can I Apply for Medicaid for My Parent?

Medicaid is public health insurance for those who are in need of assistance. Medicaid is a program that is sponsored by both the state and federally. Typically, a person must apply for his or her own Medicaid benefits. But what happens when one of your parents suddenly gets ill or suffers an injury that requires them to stay in a nursing home? Now you will need to concentrate on their care and try to figure out the next steps. There are many things you will need to worry about, such as choosing a facility and how to pay for mounting rehabilitative costs. Your parent may benefit from Medicaid to help pay for their expenses. 

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a government program that provides benefits to those who have a low income or are disabled. Medicaid is not the same as Medicare, although many people use the words interchangeably. Medicare is focused mainly on healthcare services, while Medicaid is meant for rehabilitative costs. Medicaid is the primary source of funds for nursing home care. If your parent is ill and needs to be in a nursing home, Medicaid may be available to help with part or most of the costs, depending on the need. 

Eligibility for Medicaid

Medicaid benefits in Wisconsin are managed through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. There is no specific open enrollment period for Medicaid. If your parent meets the eligibility requirements, they may apply for benefits. If your parent has limited income or is disabled, they may meet the criteria to get Medicaid. Medicaid representatives will review the application and make a determination as to whether benefits are available. If so, they will provide you with specific details about the benefits that your parents will receive. Your parents will often begin to receive benefits quickly once the application is approved. 

Patient Representative

If your parent is in the hospital or needs help with benefits, you may be able to submit a Medicaid application on their behalf. Your parent can designate a loved one or friend to act on their behalf. Medicaid will work directly with the representative with all aspects of the process. Also, a person who has guardianship over a person or has legal authority by way of power of attorney is also able to interact with Medicaid. This way, you are able to take care of the many details of the procedure when your parent is unable to take care of these matters. 

Medicaid can be somewhat confusing. It is helpful to apply for benefits as early as possible. If you have not yet applied, your parent may be eligible for retroactive eligibility in some cases. If your parent suddenly requires nursing home care, do not delay. Nursing home costs can be extremely expensive, and your loved one may not have the financial resources available to pay for care. Apply for Medicaid benefits to help with the expenses that you and your family will incur. Contact an elder law attorney at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online today. 

Published March 27, 2023
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