San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging: Health First Colorado waivers to keep people at home

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By Kay Kaylor
PREVIEW Columnist
At San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I have two main part-time roles. I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
Health First Colorado offers long-term care Medicaid for both living in your own home and living in a nursing home. The Medicaid benefits meant to help keep people in their homes are under the general category of Home and Community Based Services Waivers. These waivers also exist for children and specific medical conditions, but the one most common for people age 65 and older is the Elderly, Blind or Disabled (EBD) waiver.
People who qualify for the EBD waiver after age 64 must have a “significant functional impairment” that requires support at a level comparable to the services a nursing home provides. The 2020 income requirement for a single person is less than $2,349, based on the Federal Supplemental Security Income limit times three. For a single person, the countable assets are less than $2,000 and for a couple less than $3,000.
Those who qualify receive all Health First benefits, along with multiple other services, such as homemaker and personal care, nonmedical transportation and home modifications. To apply, request an appointment or application from the Department of Human Services, 551 Hot Springs Blvd. in Archuleta County, 264-2182. If you are already enrolled in Health First Colorado, you can apply at San Juan Basin Public Health, according to Colorado.gov.
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call 264-0501 or send an email to leadombudsman@sjbaaa.org.