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Some elderly and disabled individuals have home aides or attendants with whom they’re very comfortable, and, as a result, actually forego looking into Medicaid because they’re afraid of not being able to keep their existing aide or attendant. Fortunately, this fear is misplaced. It’s entirely possible to retain the attendant you prefer with proper planning, and have Medicaid pay the expenses, instead of paying out of your own pocket.

There are two effective methods to achieve this objective. The first is called “vendorizing” the attendant. The way it works is that, once a home care agency has been designated, you or your Elder law attorney makes arrangements for the individual you currently employ to be trained and hired by the agency. That means you get to retain the same person, but Medicaid will now pay for her services through the agency. Mission accomplished.

If your Medicaid application is being prepared by an Elder Law firm, the firm should be able to assist you with the “vendorization” process as well. If the firm has been successful with this approach, and has solid working relationships with home care agencies in your locale, vendorizing your attendant tends to run more smoothly. It’s something worth asking about before you retain a firm to represent you.

The second method is Medicaid’s “consumer direct” program (also called “concepts of independence”). Under this method, you in effect become your own health care agency, with only one patient (your friend or relative who needs care). You are responsible for hiring and firing the aides and attendants, and assuring the care of the elderly or disabled person involved, but Medicaid pays the workers. Of course, your aides must be legal workers in this country, but they do not need to have any special licenses or qualifications.

It’s important to know that if you choose the consumer direct program, Medicaid will not also pay for home care through an accredited agency. It’s one or the other.

These Medicaid benefits are examples of the wide array of advantages that can be obtained with effective planning, to make your quality-of-life much more comfortable.

You can read more about “vendorization” in Lamson & Cutner’s Special Report, 25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-term Health Care Costs. Click the preceding link to see a copy of this report.

If you know of anyone who is personally paying for a health care aide who may find this information useful, please feel free to forward this article to them.
Lamson & Cutner welcomes your comments, questions, and feedback regarding The Elder Law Exchange newsletter.  Please feel free to contact us anytime at help@elderlawexchange.com.

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