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The Role of the Assessment in Accessing Public Benefits - Aging Wisely

florida medicaid

Paying for long-term care services is a top financial concern for a majority of consumers today (research from the nonprofit LIFE foundation and LIMRA). Families often struggle to navigate the various long-term care options, while trying to match these choices up with their budget or access financial help. Although states, including Florida, have worked to make accessing long-term care easier for individuals and families, the public benefits system remains confusing for families, especially in times of turmoil.

For all these reasons and more, families should consider getting a geriatric care management assessment when eldercare issues begin to arise. The earlier in the process a family accesses this help, the more opportunity there is to play an active role in choices and save valuable time and money.

How does the geriatric care management assessment help specifically with paying for long-term care?

  • It gives you, your family and the professionals helping you a better picture of the situation (and your preferences) to pursue the right options and save time pursuing unrealistic options.
  • It helps define the costs associated with those options and the resources you have to cover costs and needs (including non-financial resources like assistance from friends, families, non-profit groups, etc.) and possibly creates a budget (and alternative budgets for comparison).
  • It explains the related public benefits you might need to access and the steps to take. Timing and details can be very important to the eligibility process, so understanding those before you get started gives you the best chance to avoid problems. It also makes recommendations for planning professionals and resources, so you have the opportunity to plan ahead.
  • It  takes all the puzzle pieces of a fractured system and puts them together. Geriatric care managers created the profession for this reason. Many of them helped clients in specific settings or with a specific concern, but there was really no one for the family to rely on to bring things together and offer continuity. For most people, long-term care is a journey during which they access different types of care, make various transitions (if not in actual place they receive care, then in the types of services accessed) and have varying needs. The medical, financial, familial and personal situation evolves and often requires multiple resources at any given time to cover the needs. A specific service or provider may conduct an assessment but it tends to only be focused on one aspect or perspective of that long-term care journey.

We have been working on our upcoming presentation for the Florida Conference on Aging, which further details how the assessment can play a valuable role for both families and practitioners, especially as it relates to Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program. Under this program, Floridians now receive Medicaid-covered long-term care services from private, managed care companies. This adds another layer of decision making for individuals and families, furthering the need for the assessment. The independent assessment can also provide valuable information to the care providers involved and help families make more informed choices, which saves time and difficulties for everyone involved.

For those of you who might be attending the 2014 Florida Conference on Aging, we hope to see you at our session! Our workshop, conducted by Senior Care Consultant Susan Talbott, is tentatively scheduled as follows:

Public-Private Partnership: Why an Independent Level of Care Assessment Benefits Providers and Clients

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

You can find the conference information on the Florida Conference on Aging website.

For help with Florida Medicaid and other long-term care needs or to inquire about a geriatric care assessment, give us a call at 727-447-5845 anytime!


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