Nursing Home Resident Walking in HallwayPeople change nursing homes for a variety of reasons. Your loved one may only be in the particular facility she is in because she needed a place to go suddenly, and it was the only one available. Now that you have had time to look around, you might decide you want to move her to a new facility—perhaps one that is closer to family. If this change involves moving to a new state, you will have to figure out logistics such as transportation if her mobility is impaired and applying for Medicaid in the new state.

Medicaid Benefits Do Not Transfer From State to State

If Medicaid is paying for all or part of your loved one’s nursing home costs, a move to another state will be more challenging than if she is a private-pay resident. This is because Medicaid programs are administered on a state level, and there is no option for transferring coverage from one state to another. In fact, under federal law, you cannot be eligible for Medicaid in two states at the same time. Steps for moving to a nursing home in a new state include:

  • Locate a nursing home in the new state. You will need to find a facility that has open Medicaid beds and apply for admission. It would also be smart to review the Medicaid requirements in the new state because, even though federal law regulates Medicaid programs, each state sets its own requirements, and you want to be sure your loved one will qualify.
  • Dis-enroll from Medicaid. You will have to close out your loved one’s coverage in the state she is leaving before you can apply in a new state. Ideally, you will time the move for the end of a month because that’s when her coverage will end once it’s canceled.
  • Move to the new nursing home. Once your loved one is in the new facility, she can apply for Medicaid in that state. The nursing home should be able to help with the application process. It can take up to 90 days to get approval, but Medicaid benefits are retroactive, so any unpaid, qualified medical expenses during this retroactive period will be covered.

Clearly, moving to a nursing home in another state takes some planning.

Moving to Texas or Arkansas? Call Us for Help

Before relocating your loved one to Texas or Arkansas, talk to our Elder Law attorneys. We can explain how the Medicaid application process will work and help you plan for as smooth a transition as possible. To learn more about qualifying for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home, request a free copy of our Medicaid Desk Reference.