Page Reviewed / Updated – Oct. 18, 2023

Program Description

Minnesotans who require long-term care (either in their home or in a residential setting) can receive services through two managed Medicaid programs: Minnesota Senior Care Plus (MSC+) and Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO). With managed Medicaid programs, the state contracts services through Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), which are often simply referred to as “health plans.” Eligible seniors receive Medicaid benefits and all their medical services through their chosen health plan.

MSC+ offers short-term care for serious injuries or illnesses. It also offers long-term care, such as in-home assistance and up to six months of nursing home care for frail, low-income seniors. This nearly doubles the amount of covered nursing home care allowed under just Medicare.

MSHO combines both Medicaid and Medicare services for eligible seniors. The benefits and services offered under this health plan are like MSC+, with the exception that enrollees in this plan also receive all of their Medicare benefits (this includes Part D for prescription drugs) under this option.

Both MSC+ and MSHO options are overseen by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and run by several managed health care plans. The major benefit of a managed care program for consumers is that a single organization manages all their care needs. The major drawback is a lack of choice in service providers. 

Eligibility Guidelines

General Requirements

To be eligible for MSC+ or MSHO, one must be a resident of Minnesota, at least 65 years of age, and be eligible for Medicare Parts A and B (for MSHO). One must also be eligible for Medicaid, which has both income and asset restrictions.

Financial Requirements

Income Limits
Income limits are set at 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Minnesota uses the previous year’s FPLs until the end of their fiscal year on June 30 of each year. This means as of July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024, single seniors cannot have a monthly income greater than $1,215. Married couples cannot have a monthly income greater than $1,644.

It’s important to note that Minnesota is what is considered a “spend down” state. This means that applicants can spend down excess monthly income on reoccurring medical or care services to be eligible for Medicaid.

Asset Limits
The asset limit is set at $3,000 for a single applicant. Married couples are limited to $6,000.

However, certain assets are considered exempt from this limit, such as an individual’s primary home (if the senior or his / her spouse lives in the home and the equity value is under $688,000), household items, personal effects, and a vehicle.

Over the Financial Limits?

For persons who do not meet the financial eligibility requirements, it can be helpful to seek the services of a Medicaid planning professional.

Benefits and Services

Eligible seniors receive a variety of benefits and services through MSC+ and MSHO, which may include the following:

  • Acute care
  • Care Coordination
  • Doctor / Dentist Visits
  • Durable Medical Equipment
  • Hospital / Emergency Room Care
  • Interpreter Services
  • Lab Work / X-rays
  • In-home care (homemaker / personal care services)
  • Nursing Home Care (up to 6 months)
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Private Duty Nursing / Home Health Aide
  • Transportation

Seniors enrolled in MSHO will also receive all of their Medicare services via their health plan. For those enrolled in either MSHO or MSC+ and are eligible for the Elderly Waiver, long-term home- and community-based services available via the waiver are also included.

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How to Apply / Learn More

For more information about MSC+ and MSHO, contact your local Department of Human Services office. Click here to find your local office and their corresponding phone number. One can also call the Senior LinkAge Line at 800-333-2433. Information about MSHO can also be found on the MN Department of Human Services website.

To apply for the MSHO option, one must contact an MSHO managed health plan in their county. To see which health plans serve your area, click here. Contact info for the health plan providers can be found here.

To see the available health plans for MSC+ for the county in which you live, click here