Column: And yet another barrier to necessary nursing home care

The 2018 Florida Legislature made it much more difficult for Florida families and caregivers of frail elders and younger people with catastrophic disabilities who are facing long-term care decisions.

The majority of nursing home admission decisions are made during hospitalizations. Most people do not plan to go into a nursing home unless it is for a short-term rehab stay that is covered by Medicare for the elderly. The transition of a person from a hospital to a nursing home for an anticipated long-term stay may be both traumatic and frenetic.

Medicaid established retroactive eligibility as a safeguard for individuals and caregivers faced with these difficult placement decisions so they have time to understand and apply for assistance with the high cost of nursing home care that middle- and low-income people would not be able to afford for a long-term stay.

However, the Legislature voted to end the Medicaid retroactive eligibility coverage as of July 1 with a Medicaid budget cut of $38 million in general revenue through the Appropriations Act. This cut occurred without debate or any opportunity for the public to understand and respond to how this will affect people who need Medicaid-funded long-term care services.

– Larry Polvika for The Tampa Bay Times

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