Do you have questions about transferring Medicaid from state to state? Wondering whether all states have Medicaid or not? Whether you’re moving to Arizona or away from it, it’s important to understand how that will affect your medical benefits.

There’s no requirement for states to participate in Medicaid, but all of them do. Recipients of these services must be either qualified non-citizens or American citizens.

Eligible residents can include low-income individuals and families, along with some disabled people. But keep in mind that poverty alone doesn’t immediately qualify you for Medicaid services.

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Medicaid from State to State

The federal government has established general terms for their Medicaid program, but each state has their own version. Requirements for eligibility aren’t the same from state to state. 

If you move out of Arizona (or to Arizona from another place), keep in mind that you will have to reapply for your benefits in the new state.

The Transition Period

Many Medicaid recipients are concerned about the time in between cancelling a plan and their care beginning again in their new state. Retroactive coverage is one way to help with the transition and allows you to still receive benefits for a 3-month period before your Medicaid application. 

As soon as you’ve established eligibility for services, Medicaid will take care of qualified and unpaid care expenses for the retroactive period.

How Long does Approval Take?

Depending on where you’re moving to, and what services you need, processing can take between a week and 90 days from the day after your application submission. 

Many programs for Arizona’s Medicaid system take 45 days to process. 

You are eligible immediately after moving as states aren’t allowed to have a minimum length of residency for providing services. This means you can apply the first day you live in Arizona or the new state you’re moving to.

Arizona’s Medicaid Program

The Arizona Medicaid program includes the Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS). This system provides long-term care for medically and financially qualified people in Arizona. 

ALTCS offers eligible residents free or low-cost services for disabled, blind, and elderly medical needs. The state has other programs available for people who don’t fit into these categories, including coverage for eligible kids.

If you qualify for ALTCS benefits, a case manager will help you create the right health care plan for your needs. This may include prescription medications, hospice services, doctor visits, out-patient and in-home patient care, nursing facility care, and more.

Variations in the Medicaid Program

Do Medicaid benefits vary from state to state? Although requirements for eligibility are different between states, the asset and income limits are similar. If you’re financially eligible in your old state, you’ll most likely get benefits in your new location. 

If you’re moving from Arizona to a new state with stricter limits, you might have to rearrange your finances and assets a bit before you will be eligible.

The Benefit Transfer Process

Can you have Medicaid in two states? You might be relocating for work or family reasons and assume that your Medicaid benefits come with you. However, they don’t automatically transfer, and you aren’t legally allowed to get benefits in two states at the same time. 

When you move, you must close your case and cease benefits with your old Medicaid program before you apply in the other state. And keep in mind that there’s still the processing period to think about. These factors make planning ahead super important when it comes to receiving care.

Does Medicaid cover out of state care or services when you travel? Many recipients of Medicaid services don’t know that their coverage doesn’t always extend to out-of-state visits. For example, you might go to the hospital in one state and your home state could refuse to cover the cost of services there. It’s important to know about this before you travel or move, so you can avoid unexpected expenses and hassle.

Tips for Transferring Medicaid Services to a New State

If you’re about to move to a new state and need to get Medicaid benefits there, keep the following points in mind:

1. Research eligibility requirements: Before you move to a new state, cancel your current benefits, or apply for new ones, do as much research as you can. Find out what your new state requires for eligibility and how you can gather the information necessary to prove you’re qualified. There are many different types of Medicaid, so you’ll need to look at the specific type you need in your new state.

2. Think about timing: The specific time of month you decide to move and apply can impact the outcome of your application. For example, some programs won’t close your coverage until the month ends. And you’re not allowed to get benefits in two states at once. So, planning when to cancel your benefits accordingly is the wisest course of action.

Check into the average processing times for the specific program you need. If you’re pregnant, for example, you can typically get a shorter waiting period than other applicants.

3. Get a Functional Assessment: States use a functional assessment process to gain information on your needs and health status. They use this information to determine whether you’re eligible for Medicaid-covered care and services. Have a functional assessment done in the state you’re moving to. Depending on how serious your health condition is, finding out that you’re ineligible in a new state may change your moving plans.

4. Speak with a Professional: Applying for Medicaid can be complicated, depending on your situation. An experienced Elder Law attorney can help you prepare your application, restructure your finances to become eligible, and help you along the way.

Need Help Applying for ALTCS in Arizona?

If you’re moving to Arizona and need help setting up Medicaid, speaking with a lawyer is a good place to start. The application process itself can be complex and confusing, and making mistakes can set you back in attaining benefits and services. If your situation is complicated or you need help meeting the eligibility requirements, one of our attorneys can answer your questions. 

Call the JacksonWhite ALTCS team at (480)467-4337 to discuss your case today.

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