Understanding the Basics of Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person Program
Money Follows the Person (MFP) programs are designed to support Medicaid Long Term Care beneficiaries moving out of nursing homes (or other institutionalized settings) and back to their home in the community. The MFP programs can provide the support by giving beneficiaries access to the same kind of care in the community that they received in the institution, and by helping them pay for moving expenses.
What Is Money Follows the Person?
Money Follows the Person (MFP) is a federally funded Medicaid program that supports states in their efforts to transition Medicaid Long Term Care beneficiaries from living in institutional settings, primarily nursing homes, to living in the community. States that have Money Follows the Person programs use federal funds to offset the costs of providing Medicaid beneficiaries the same type and level of support in the community they had in the institution.
When it comes to Money Follows the Person, living in the “community” can mean the Medicaid beneficiary returns to the home they were living in previously, or moving in with a family member or friend, or into a small group home setting with no more than four unrelated individuals in the residence. And the “institution” is most often a nursing home, but it can also be an assisted living facility, a memory care unit for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, or any Medicaid-approved facility with on-site skilled nursing care and constant supervision.
Money Follows the Person was created in 2005 and then extended in 2010, 2016 and 2021. It is intended to maximize freedom of choice for Medicaid beneficiaries and there is a long-term aim to establish permanent supports to help people transition out of institutions and go back home.
The programs are also referred to as “Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Programs” and “Money Follows the Person Demonstration Programs.” Plus, some states have their own names – in California the MFP program is known as “California Community Transitions,” in New York it’s called “Open Doors,” in Maine it’s “Homeward Bound,” and in West Virginia it’s “Take Me Home.” Below is a complete list of states that have MFP programs with state-specific names.
How Does Money Follows the Person Work?
To be clear, individuals do not directly receive any money through the Money Follows the Person program. The federal Money Follows the Person program gives money to the states, which in turn provide goods, services and other financial support to the individual so they can return to the community and still receive the kind of long term care they need.
The exact type of support provided by Money Follows the Person vary by state, as do the application processes. Click here to find contact information for the Money Follows the Person program director in each state.
Money Follows the Person Benefits
In some states, Money Follows the Person programs will help with transitional needs like covering a security deposit, paying for moving expenses and purchasing furniture. Once the Medicaid recipient moves home, Money Follows the Person will help pay for things like personal care aids, assistive technology, home modifications, adult day care and home visits from doctors and nurses. In some cases, Money Follows the Person benefits at home may surpass the benefits the individual was receiving in the institution. They might be approved for extra physical therapy, or more hours of personal care, for example.
Consumer Directed Care
Some states with Money Follows the Person programs have Consumer Directed Care, which gives individuals additional decision-making power when it comes to their health care. With Consumer Directed Care, individuals can choose who provides their care, what kind of care and services they receive, and what type of medical goods, devices and medications they use.
These choices come within preset limits – everything from a list of medications to choose from to a fully independent budget – but they can include hiring a relative as a personal care aid. This allows the Medicaid beneficiary to receive care from a loved one like an adult child, and for that loved one to get paid for the services they were already providing and that will save the state money. The paid caregiver does not need to be a medical professional, but they may have to pass some state requirements, like attending training courses or being CPR certified.
Eligibility Requirements for Money Follows the Person
There are two basic requirements to be eligible for Money Follows the Person. First, a person must be enrolled in a Medicaid Long Term Care program. Second, that person must have been living in a Medicaid-approved institution (a nursing home, assisted living facility, memory care unit, etc.) for at least 60 days to be eligible for the Money Follows the Person program in their state. The time requirement used to be 90 days, but that changed with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
There are three types of Medicaid Long Term Care – Nursing Home Medicaid, Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, and Aged Blind or Disabled (ABD) Medicaid. All three have both financial and functional (medical) requirements for eligibility. Our Medicaid Eligibility Requirements Finder tool can help you check out your own eligibility situation.
Money Follows the Person will mostly be relevant for people with Nursing Home Medicaid who want to return home. However, there are some people who have HCBS Waivers or ABD Medicaid and live in some kind of assisted living facility but wish to return home, and in these cases Money Follows the Person could be used.
States With Money Follows the Person Programs
The following 36 states (and Washington, D.C.) currently have Money Follows the Person programs (state-specific program names in parentheses):
• Alabama (Gateway to Community Living)
• Arkansas (California (California Community Transitions)
• Delaware (Finding a Way Home)
• Idaho (Idaho Home Choice)
• Iowa (The Partnership for Community Integration Project)
• Kentucky (Kentucky Transitions)
• Louisiana (My Place)
• Maine (Homeward Bound)
• Minnesota (Moving Home Minnesota)
• New Jersey (I Choose Home)
• New York (Open Doors)
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• Ohio (HOME Choice)
• Oklahoma (Living Choice)
• Rhode Island (The Rhode to Home)
• South Carolina (Home Again)
• South Dakota
• Washington (Roads to Community Living)
• West Virginia (Take Me Home)
• Washington, D.C.
This list provides a phone number and email address for the Money Follows the Person program director in all 37 states.