When an elderly Phoenix resident finds him or herself in need of old age care, affordability is a top concern. For those seniors who are unable to afford the medical care they need, Arizona offers a program called ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care System). Before applying, however, there are a few things to take care of and we’ll discuss the specifics below.
The first thing that you should organize is your finances. ALTCS looks back at your finances for up to 60 months so you should be prepared. For a single, unmarried person, the income qualification is easy to understand. If you make less than the income threshold, around $2000/month, you can qualify. For married couples, there is more flexibility on the income level, but since one spouse usually remains in the community (community spouse), things become a bit more confusing. There are certain allowances for the community spouse so they do not become destitute as a result of long term care costs. If you are considering applying for ALTCS in Phoenix, for a patient who is married, we recommend talking to an elder law specialist before you apply to make sure that you are covered and have explored all your options. There are income-only trusts, exempt assets, and long term care insurance partnerships to name a few.
Once you’ve made the decision to apply for ALTCS in Phoenix, you or your loved one must undergo the functional and medical evaluation. The evaluation is scored on diagnosed medical conditions combined with a functional assessment, dealing with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) such as bathing, food preparation, behavior, and other similar categories. A score of 60 points is required to qualify for ALTCS. Certain conditions are weighted differently. For example, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is worth 20 points on the evaluation.
Unfortunately, it is very often true that people do not apply for ALTCS until they need care. The simple fact is that most people who apply for ALTCS in Phoenix don’t begin doing so until their conditions have degenerated past an acceptable point. We recommend applying early as soon as you start noticing changes since many of people who delay their applications require care while they are still in the ALTCS pending phase. While not impossible, it is more difficult to find care for someone in the ALTCS pending stage. For those who need help during the pending period, it is helpful to consult with a professional agency such as Senior Planning. All of our services are free so don’t hesitate to call us. We can negotiate rates for you while you are waiting to qualify for the ALTCS program and find care even before full eligibility is granted. This has helped improve the quality of life for many patients that have worked with us in the past.