By Attorney Franklin J. Hickman
Medicaid waivers provide significant
support to keep people with disabilities in
community settings rather than in
institutions or nursing homes; these
waivers also allow families of any income
level to access a broad range of Medicaid benefits. The waivers for those with developmental disabilities ("DD") and the home care waiver make these benefits available to individuals of any age. With shrinking state budgets, Medicaid has emerged as the most important funding source for residential services in the disability community.
WHAT IS A WAIVER?
When Medicaid was first established in 1965, Congress provided for a range of supports, including long term support for care in nursing homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Mentally Retarded (ICFs/MR). By the 1990's, the system encouraged states to develop experimental programs, locally and state-wide, which were designed to support community-based services for people who would otherwise be required to live in an institutional setting in order to receive Medicaid. These innovative programs allowed states to waive certain basic Medicaid requirements, including the requirement for institutional placement and the requirement that parental income be considered in determining financial eligibility of minors.
WHAT WAIVERS ARE AVAILABLE TO PERSONS WITH DD?
Ohio has established two waivers for persons with DD and has recently received approval for a third effective July 1, 2012.