The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) continues to slash services in response to its $1 billion budget shortfall for year 2023-2024, this time taking aim at its program for Hoosiers who desire to age in place under its Aged and Disabled Medicaid waiver.  Even though the FSSA alluded to the possibility of implementing a waitlist for these services in its Medicaid Forecast Updates and Initiatives in January, the agency gave no other notice of implementing a waitlist before abruptly instituting a waitlist April 3, 2024.  More troubling, the FSSA took the waiver away from many individuals who had already been awarded a waiver “slot,” but had not yet had the services start, and placed them on the waitlist.


Understanding the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver


The Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver is a program administered by the FSSA to provide home and community-based services to elderly and disabled individuals who require long-term care. These services include home care assistance, adult day care, assisted living, and various supports aimed at promoting independent living and enhancing quality of life.


Implications for Applicants


For individuals seeking access to long-term care services through the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver, the implementation of a waitlist introduces a new layer of complexity to an already challenging process. Prospective applicants must now navigate through the waitlist, which may prolong the time it takes to receive essential services. Consequently, applicants should contact their Area Agency on Aging as soon as services are desired to get on the waitlist.


Implication for Individuals Whose Waiver Was “Revoked”


For those individuals who were awarded a waiver “slot” prior to April 3, but had it taken away by the FSSA after April 3, there is a question as to the legality of the agency’s action.  The FSSA’s most recent response is that it has a prioritization process to re-award “slots” to those who were not “active” on April 3 and that the agency will send a notice on April 24 to those individuals.


Home and Community Based Alternatives to Aged and Disabled Waiver Services


Indiana Medicaid covers other home and community-based programs outside of those services covered under the Aged and Disabled waiver.  For example, community- based services are covered under the Money Follows the Persons Program for individuals transitioning from a nursing facility to home.  Also, community-based services are covered under the Program for All-Inclusive Care to the Elderly (PACE).  A qualified elder law attorney can help you navigate these alternative programs.


Though no fault of their own, aging and disabled Hoosiers are likely to continue to pay for the FSSA’s budget oversight.  Even with other home and community-based alternatives such as Money Follows the Person and PACE, many individuals are still likely to find themselves otherwise institutionalized.  Of course, this simply makes no sense when studies have shown that aging in place saves on long-term care costs.  If you or a loved one are in need of long-term care services, contact the Stinson Law Firm today to review your options.  In the meantime, we encourage you to contact your legislator in a call to action to assist the FSSA through this budget crisis to avoid the life-threatening situations of those who are going without services due to these cuts.

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