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Assisted Living Vs. Nursing Home Medicaid Process – What is the Difference?

- AlerStallings

As many as 70 percent of people age 65 and older will need some form of a long-term care at some point in their lives.  With the costs of long-term care constantly increasing, it is important to understand some of the major differences between Assisted Living Waiver Medicaid and Nursing Home Medicaid.  This table highlights some of those important differences:



Assisted Living Waiver

Nursing Home Medicaid

Start Date of Coverage Approval Date Application Date
Medicaid Beds Limited (0-3) Unlimited
Area Agency on Aging Approval Required Not Required


These are just a few of the major differences between Nursing Home Medicaid and Assisted Living Medicaid. It is also crucial to ask right questions like how many Medicaid beds the assisted living facility has available? If none are available, how long is the wait list? Or how long must a patient privately pay before being allowed to apply for Medicaid? By having all the necessary information and consulting an Elder Law attorney, you can avoid the unpleasant surprises that arise by choosing the wrong long-term care facility for a loved one.