Long Term Care

Financial Assistance

How do I pay for services?

There are a number of resources available to assist you in paying for services:

  • Medicare
  • Medical Assistance
  • Elderly Waiver
  • Alternative Care 

What is Medical Assistance?

Medical Assistance (MA) is a state health care program that provides necessary medical services for disabled and elderly (65 or older) Minnesotans who have limited income and assets. MA pays for certain home health services such as personal care, nursing services, and physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapies. If you are 65 and older and participate in MA, you may receive home care services under regular MA home care or through the Elderly Waiver (EW) program.

What is Elderly Waiver?

Elderly Waiver helps cover the cost of services for older Minnesotans, age 65 and older, who are eligible for MA and require the level of medical care provided in a nursing home, but choose to reside in the community. Covered services include visits by a skilled nurse, home health aide, homemaker, companion, personal care assistant, as well as home-delivered meals, adult day care, supplies and equipment, home modifications, and certified community residential services (assisted living, foster care, residential care).

To qualify for Elderly Waiver, a senior must go through a Long-Term Care Consultation and be assigned a case manager (a county public health nurse or county social worker). The case manager will arrange services and monitor the participant's well-being.

Am I eligible for Medical Assistance?

You must meet certain income and asset guidelines. They change July 1 of each year, based on changes in the Federal Poverty Guidelines. So you should contact your local county social services staff for more information. For specific guidelines, go to Health Care Programs on the Department of Human Services website.

Eligibility information for a married couple in which one spouse lives at home and the other spouse lives in a nursing home is available through the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care at 1-800-657-3591.

What if I have too much income?

Individuals who make more than MA income limits may still qualify if they have enough medical bills to meet a "spend down" (similar to an insurance deductible), in which their medical bills exceed the difference between their income and the MA standard. For example, if your monthly income is $587 but medical expenses (such as medications, home health care, clinic bills, etc.) exceed $100, the person spends $100 for medical expenses and MA pays any additional approved medical expenses.

To apply for Medical Assistance:

Fill out a Minnesota Health Care Programs application, mail or bring it to your county human services agency.

Contact your county human services agency and a representative will help you complete the application.

If you have questions about Medical Assistance, you may call the Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care 1-800-657-3591.

What is Alternative Care?

Alternative Care helps cover the costs of services for older Minnesotans, age 65 and older, who are at risk of nursing home placement and have low levels of income and assets. Covered services include adult day care, homemaker services, home health aides, personal care assistance, case management, respite care, care-related supplies and equipment, home-delivered meals, transportation, skilled nursing, chore services, companion services, nutrition services, training for caregivers and modifications to the home.

To qualify for Alternative Care, a senior must go through a Long-Term Care Consultation and be assigned a case manager (a county public health nurse or county social worker). The case manager will arrange services and monitor the participant's well-being.