TennCare CHOICES in Long-Term Care Program
Tennessee CHOICES Overview
This is a Medicaid program for elderly and / or disabled Tennessee residents that require the level of care typically provided in a nursing home. This program is a Medicaid program for Tennessee residents that require the level of care typically provided in a nursing home. A wide range of personal care assistance and support services can be paid for by this program. Some of the services are “consumer directed” meaning they are offered based on the Medicaid Cash and Counseling model in which participants are provided with the flexibility and choice to self-select their care providers.
The CHOICES program has options for individuals in nursing homes or for those that wish to receive care at home. One component of the program that is of particular interest for those whose receive care at home is that friends, neighbors and certain family members can be hired to provide care. Family members, with the exception of spouses and legal guardians, can be paid to be caregivers.
CHOICES Eligibility Guidelines
This program has qualification criteria regarding the applicant's age, functional ability and financial situation. Applicants must be disabled and at least 21 years of age. If they are 65 or older, full disability is not required, instead they require the level of care typically provided in nursing homes.
Financially, applicants must qualify for Tennessee Medicaid's long term care services. To do so, there are income and assets restrictions. The 2013 income limit for an individual applicant is $2,130 / month. The asset limit is $2,000 in countable assets. This excludes certain resources like pre-paid burial plans, wedding rings and one's home and vehicle.
Applicant's over these limits may still qualify if they are married and their spouse is not applying. Under these circumstances, a portion of their joint income and resources can be put in the spouse's name to enable him or her to live independently. This can effectively lowers the applicant's income and assets to an acceptable level.
Another alternative is to distribute excess income into a pooled or Miller Trust. This also can effectively lower income to the eligibility limit. Some excess resources can be converted to non-countable assets. To do so requires Medicaid planning expertise, click here to find assistance qualifying for Medicaid
Benefits / Services of the Program
This program provides services that help individuals remain living outside of nursing homes. Some of these services can be self-directed.
-Personal care assistance with the activities of daily living sometimes also called attendant care
-Homemaker services sometimes also referred to assistance with the instrumental activities of daily living
-Personal Emergency Response services or PERS
-Adult day care
-Respite care for the primary caregiver
-Assistive technology and home modifications to make one's residence more accessible
How to Apply / Program Availability
Page Reviewed / Updated - Feb. 2013