Barbara Fradkin – Special to FLORIDA TODAY

Reader Question: Does Medicaid have a long-term care program that will help me at home?

Answer: This column will build on information shared the last two weeks and will address Community Based Medicaid.

Offered by Florida Medicaid, Medicaid waiver/Home and Community Based services provides assistance in the home or other community settings for persons who would otherwise require institutional care in a hospital, nursing facility or intermediate care facility.

This program has a long waiting list with priority given to those who need the services most.

In Central Florida, Senior Resource Alliance will do assessments and establish the criteria level for care.

In assisted living, Medicaid will contribute approximately $1,300 monthly (depending on the amount of care needed) toward the assisted living bill.

Charges for assisted living are based on a “room and board” fee and for a particular “level of care.”

Medicaid only helps with the level of care fee; the room and board fee is an out-of-pocket expense paid by the resident.

At home, Medicaid will pay for between 15-40 hours of weekly home health care, depending on the amount of care needed.

The state pays this directly to the Medicaid-approved agency.

Medicaid does not subsidize your dwelling costs. The majority of seniors want to stay in their own home as long as possible — and with this program it is doable.

BUT… there are thousands of people on the waiting list for this program. Therefore, you cannot rely on getting services immediately. Planning ahead is crucial.

Attorneys who specialize in Elder Law can speed the process and help you obtain these Medicaid services.

Many people do not realize they are eligible for Medicaid benefits.

“Many people believe that they are financially overqualified for these Medicaid benefits. But an Elder Law attorney can help them qualify,” said attorney Joannie Rodriguez of Family First Firm.

Here are the big takeaways from our three-column series on Medicaid.

  • Medicaid is an assistance program run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.
  • Medicaid is the single-largest payer of nursing home bills in America.
  • Medicaid can help pay your Medicare premiums.
  • Medicaid will not take away your house.
  • Medicaid can help you with in-home or assisted living care.
  • Qualified Income Trusts may help you qualify for Medicaid programs.

Some Medicaid programs have long waiting lists. Plan early.

Questions? One Senior Place will be hosting a Medicaid seminar on Feb. 3 featuring Rodriguez. For more information, call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at

Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director for One Senior Place, Viera.