Qualifying for PA Medicaid as “Medically Needy”

Last updated: May 13, 2024
Medicaid Long Term Care | Questions and AnswersCategory: EligibilityQualifying for PA Medicaid as “Medically Needy”
medicaidplanner Staff asked 4 years ago

My grandmother requires nursing home care in Pennsylvania. She receives $6,500 / month in income, which is well above Medicaid’s income limit. However, she cannot afford the private cost of a nursing home at an average cost of $10,700 / month. Is it possible for my grandmother to still qualify via Medicaid’s medically needy pathway?

1 Answers
medicaidplanner Staff answered 4 years ago

Yes, it is possible for your grandmother to still qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid via the Medically Needy Pathway, which is called Medically Needy Only (MNO) Medicaid in Pennsylvania. For PA Medicaid, also called Medical Assistance, persons who have income over the long-term care Medicaid income limit (300% of the Federal Benefit Rate), but are unable to afford their cost of care, may be able to qualify via this option

Essentially, with the MNO pathway, one must “spend down” their excess income on medical expenses. In the case of your grandmother, her “excess” income would be paid towards the cost of her nursing home care. It is important to mention that Medicaid nursing home beneficiaries are only able to retain a minimal Personal Needs Allowance from their monthly income. For married beneficiaries with non-Medicaid spouses living at home or in the community, a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance may also be paid from their monthly income to their non-applicant spouse.

As an example, let’s say your grandmother is single. She has $6,500 / month in income and can keep $45 / month as a Personal Needs Allowance. The rest of her monthly income, $6,455 / month ($6,500 – $45 = $6,455), must go towards the cost of nursing home care. Given the monthly nursing home costs are greater than $6,455 / month, she will be income-eligible for Medicaid nursing home care in PA. Note that your grandmother must also meet Medicaid’s asset limit as well as have a functional need for nursing home care. See Medicaid eligibility criteria in PA. See criteria in the rest of the states.

Medicaid eligibility can be complicated, particularly if one has income and / or assets over Medicaid’s income limit. It is highly suggested that one consult with a Professional Medicaid Planner to discuss the specifics of one’s situation and the options to lower income and / or assets.

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