Health care options for low-income seniors, disabled

Seniors over age 65 who need a nursing home level of care have options, according to Arizona Long Term Care Services of Cottonwood. Many ALTCS participants live in their own homes or in an assisted living facility and receive needed in-home services.

But, because funding comes from State and Federal dollars, there is financial and medical criteria that must be met, according to Anita Rocco, who is Health Program Manager in the Cottonwood office.

Clients of ALTCS can include individuals of any age receiving Medicare, Social Security Disability, or are physically or developmentally disabled Arizona residents who cannot afford the health care they need. Qualifications for the ALTCS program are defined by meeting the medical and financial eligibility criteria, which includes monthly income and value of their resources.

The income limit for an individual is $2022 per month including wages, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and pensions. Persons with AHCCCS-approved Special Income-only Trusts may have income in excess of this amount and still qualify.

An individual also may not have resources in excess of $2,000. Resources are possessions that could be redeemed for financial gain including cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and the like. That value limitation does not include a person’s home, as long as it is a primary residence, household possessions, one automobile, burial plot or irrevocable burial plans.

A higher income and resource limit applies to married couples. An ALTCS financial caseworker will determine if an applicant qualifies financially for the program.

Some applicants who receive Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families may already qualify financially.

Medical eligibility is the primary deterrent for most families, according to Rocco. Applicants must need a level of care provided by a nursing home or facility of intermediate care for the mentally retarded. Those only needing “supervisory care” do not meet that level of need. A medical assessor will determine if the applicant meets the medical criteria.

ALTCS participants are covered for medical care, including doctor’s office visits, hospitalization, lab work, and behavioral health services in addition to the financial assistance that helps cover the nursing home and assisted living facility costs.

Some ALTCS clients live in a nursing facility, at home or in an alternative residence. Those continuing to live at home will receive home and community-based services, allowing them to safely maintain their independence and quality of life with caregivers providing services in their home.

For additional information, call ALTCS in Cottonwood at 634-8101. The Verde Valley ALTCS office is located at 1 N. Main Street.


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