Utah’s New Choices Waiver is a Medicaid program intended to help elderly and disabled individuals who currently reside in a Medicaid-funded nursing home, assisted living community, or small health care facility. This program provides a variety of care services and supports to enable persons to move from their current community back into their homes or into the homes of family members and caregivers. New Choices pays for supports, such as chore services, home access modifications, home delivered meals, non-medical transportation, and care services, like adult day care and attendant care.
The New Choices Waiver allows for participant direction of certain care services. For instance, friends and relatives can be hired to provide homemaker and attendant care services. However, spouses and legal guardians cannot be paid to provide care.
The New Choices Waiver is only for persons who are living in one of the settings mentioned above. Utah offers a similar Medicaid waiver for those who require nursing home level care but are not already receiving it and wish to remain living at home: the Aging Waiver. The New Choices Waiver offers more liberal income requirements than does the Aging Waiver.
To receive assistance under New Choices, individuals must meet several requirements:
For 2023, individual participants are limited to a gross monthly income of $2,742, which is equivalent to three times the current Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). For a couple with only one spouse applying, the income of the non-applicant spouse is not considered. In addition, the applicant spouse might be able to transfer part of his or her income to the non-applicant spouse. Currently, the maximum amount that can be transferred is $3,715.50.
The assets of an individual applicant are limited to $2,000. When the applicant is married and his or her spouse is not also applying for Medicaid, the non-applicant spouse is allowed up to keep up to $148,620 (in 2023) of the couple’s joint assets. This is in addition to the $2,000 in resources that the applicant spouse is permitted.
Married individuals and persons with finances over these limits should consider finding Medicaid planning assistance. Persons in these situations still may be eligible for Medicaid, but just require financial expertise to help them allocate their resources appropriately. Learn more.
New Choices is intended to help persons who require nursing home level of care to return to their homes. As such, the following services and supports are available to help individuals directly and to help family members care for them.
One can request application forms and instructions by calling the New Choices Waiver program office at 800-662-9651 and selecting number 6.
The New Choices Medicaid Waiver is operated by the Utah Division of Medicaid and Health Financing. For additional information about this program, click here.