Arkansas’ Medicaid program can pay for medical and nonmedical in-home care services. Its programs and waivers are designed to support seniors with specific needs living under particular circumstances. Therefore, a senior may find they don’t qualify for one of the programs or waivers but may be eligible for another. Each of the three programs or waivers is unique; some pay for medical and nonmedical care, while others only pay for nonmedical care. In order to be eligible for these programs, seniors must be eligible for Medicaid (as a minimum) and in need of nursing home care that can be delivered in the community.

Arkansas’ Programs and Waivers

ARChoices in Home Care helps adults aged 65+ who need intermediate nursing home levels of care that can be delivered in their homes. It covers costs for an array of services for seniors who satisfy criteria relating to medical needs and personal finances. These include attendant services, such as assistance with bathing and dressing, home-delivered meals and home modifications, such as wheelchair ramps. It can also pay for visits to adult day care centers that provide limited skilled nursing services.

The Self Direction/Independent Choices Program allows seniors to choose their caregivers, which can include family members. This program only covers nonmedical care services, such as help with toileting and shopping for groceries. Eligible seniors are responsible for arranging the caregiver’s training with help from an assigned Financial Management Services vendor. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is for seniors receiving both Medicaid and Medicare. This all-inclusive program covers both medical and nonmedical care costs. The senior recipient must live in an area covered by a PACE provider, which is responsible for all aspects of their care.

Low-cost Services if Ineligible for Medicaid

Arkansas doesn’t provide any non-Medicaid financial assistance to cover in-home care costs. However, this doesn’t mean seniors who don’t satisfy Medicaid’s requirements can’t get help. There are numerous free and low-cost programs that help with other home living expenses. For reference, the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey found the median hourly rate for in-home care services in Arkansas is $21.95.Homebound seniors also may be eligible for their local Meals on Wheels program, which offers the benefits of nutritionally-balanced meals and a wellness check from the delivery driver. To make their homes safer and reduce their energy consumption, seniors can apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which pays for insulation and repairs to heating and cooling systems. The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help with home energy bills in winter and summer and seniors who qualify are also eligible for the Low-Income Water Assistance Program (LIWAP).