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Kansas Medicare assistance program options

Residents with few assets can get Medicaid-funded in-home long-term care services, but must pay all but $1,157 of their monthly income towards their care

April 5, 2023

As a Medicare beneficiary, the state where you live can have a significant impact on the care that you receive and how you pay for that care during your golden years. This page explains how Kansas’s regulations and policies may help you pay for Medicare and discusses potential Medicaid coverage for long-term care needs.

How does Kansas determine eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs?

A Medicare Savings Program (MSP) can help Kansas Medicare beneficiaries who struggle to afford the cost of Medicare coverage. The MSPs help some Kansans pay for Medicare Part B premiums, Medicare Part A and B cost-sharing, and – in some cases – Part A premiums.

Asset limits: Kansas uses the federal asset limits for QMB, SLMB and QI – which are $9,090 if single and $13,630 if married.

Who’s eligible for Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled in Kansas?

Medicare covers many services, but can leave enrollees with significant out-of-pocket costs (i.e., deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance). Original Medicare also does not cover important services like vision and dental benefits, although Medicare Advantage plans sometimes do offer this coverage.

Some beneficiaries – those whose incomes make them eligible for Medicaid – can receive coverage for Medicare cost sharing and additional services covered by Medicaid if they’re enrolled in Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled (ABD).

In Kansas, Medicaid ABD covers “some preventable dental care” for adults. Medicaid ABD may also cover eye exams and eyeglasses. More extensive vision coverage is usually available only to enrollees with medical conditions impacting the eye.

Income eligibility: The income limit is $475 a month for both single and married applicants.*

Asset limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married.

*The income limit for Medicaid for the aged, blind and disabled in Kansas is very low. However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) enrollees receive full Medicaid benefits in Kansas, which effectively increases Medicaid’s income limit to the SSI eligibility level.

Individuals who are 65 or older, blind or disabled can qualify for SSI with incomes up to $914 a month for individuals and $1,371 a month for spouses. The SSI program provides cash payments to enrollees with few resources. Most enrollees receive a monthly payment equal to the SSI income limit.

SSI has the same asset limits – $2,000 for singles and $3,000 for spouses – as Medicaid ABD in Kansas.

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Help with prescription drug costs in Kansas

Medicare beneficiaries who also have Medicaid, an MSP, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive Extra Help. This program lowers Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. When beneficiaries apply for this program themselves, the income limit is $1,843 a month for singles and $2,485 a month for couples. The asset limit is $16,660 for individuals and $33,240 for spouses.

How does Kansas regulate long-term services and supports (LTSS)?

Medicare beneficiaries increasingly rely on long-term services and supports (LTSS) – or long-term care – which is mostly not covered by Medicare. 20% of Medicare beneficiaries who were living at home received some assistance with LTSS in 2015, and even more seniors will need these services as the population ages.

Medicaid fills this gap in Medicare coverage for long-term care, but its complex eligibility rules can make qualifying for benefits difficult. What’s more – eligibility rules vary significantly from state to state.

Medicaid long-term care applicants must undergo a level of care assessment.

Medicaid nursing home coverage

Most seniors used to receive long-term care in nursing homes. Today, many receive these services in their homes. But some seniors have medical or living situations that make nursing home care a better choice.

Income limits: There is no income limit for nursing home benefits in Kansas, but nursing home residents must pay all their income above $62 a month toward their care.

Assets limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married and both spouses are applying. If only one spouse needs Medicaid, the other spouse can keep up to $148,620. (Note that certain assets like a car and many household furnishings do not count against this limit.)

Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)

Medicaid programs that cover long-term care in the community are called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers. Enrollees continue living in the community, rather than entering a nursing home.

Income limits: There is no income limit for HCBS services in Kansas, but enrollees pay all their income above $2,742 a month toward their care.

Asset limits: The asset limit is $2,000 if single and $3,000 if married (and both spouses are applying). If only one spouse needs Medicaid, the other spouse can keep up to $148,620.

Spousal impoverishment protections in Kansas

Spousal impoverishment rules enable the spouse (the “community spouse”) not receiving Medicaid LTSS to afford living expenses and home maintenance costs.

In Kansas in 2022, these spousal impoverishment rules allowed community spouses to keep:

Permitted home equity in Kansas

Federal law requires states to limit eligibility for Medicaid nursing home and HCBS to applicants with a home equity interest below a specific dollar amount. States set these home equity levels based on a federal minimum of $688,000 and maximum of $1,033,000 in 2023.

Kansas uses the most restrictive home equity limit allowed – meaning that applicants for nursing home care or HCBS must have less than $688,000 in home equity.

Penalties for transferring assets in Kansas

Because long-term care is expensive, individuals sometimes have an incentive to give away or transfer assets to others to become eligible for Medicaid LTSS benefits. As a deterrent, states — in accordance with federal law — have a penalty period during which Medicaid will not pay for nursing home care for applicants who have transferred assets. States can also have a penalty period for HCBS.

Kansas chooses to have an asset transfer penalty for nursing home care and HCBS. This penalty is based on a 60-month lookback period where asset transfers and gifts are prohibited. The penalty’s length is determined by dividing the amount of money transferred or given away by the monthly cost of nursing home care.

Estate recovery in Kansas

State Medicaid agencies are required to attempt to “claw back” what they paid for long-term care related costs for enrollees who were 55 or older. States have the option of going further – and recovering the cost of all other Medicaid benefits.

Kansas has chosen to pursue estate recovery for all Medicaid benefits received beginning at age 55. The state also recovers from the estates of younger enrollees who were permanently institutionalized.

When a deceased beneficiary’s Medicaid coverage was administered by an insurer, the state will attempt to recover what it paid that insurer. That amount could differ from the actual cost of the Medicaid services received.

Kansas will not pursue estate recovery if an enrollee is survived by children who are under 21, blind or disabled. The state will delay its estate recovery for enrollees who are survived by their spouse, and will file its claim against the spouse’s estate after their death.

Where can Medicare beneficiaries get help in Kansas?

Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK)

Free volunteer Medicare counseling is available by contacting Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK) at 1-800-860-5260. This is the State’s Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit the SHICK website for information about the services it offers.

Elder Law Attorneys

Elder law attorneys can help individuals explore Medicaid long-term care benefits. You can use the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) search feature to find an elder attorney locally.

Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Centers

Medicare beneficiaries in Kansas can also receive assistance from one of the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs). These centers can provide information and counseling about services that help with aging or living with a disability. You can contact the Kansas ADRC call center at 855-200-ADRC (2372).

This website has more information about ADRC services in Kansas.

Where can I apply for Medicaid in Kansas?

Medicaid is administered by the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment. You can request an application for Medicaid ABD or an MSP by calling 800-792-4884. This website contains more information about applying for Medicaid in Kansas.

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