Medicaid (also called Medical Assistance) is a joint Federal and state program that helps pay medical costs for certain people and families who have limited income and resources.   Medicaid benefits for nursing homes include room and board and long term care health services. In most states, Medicaid coverage also extends to some community and home based long term care services.

Medicaid Eligibility for Nursing Home Expenses

Both federal and state guidelines for income and personal assets must be met for Medicaid eligibility. If you have substantial income and assets and still qualify for the program, then the Medicaid law usually requires you to spend down your assets on health care each month before Medicaid pays.

Under the “spend down” process, some states allow you to become eligible for Medicaid as “medically needy,” even if you have too much income to qualify. This process allows you to “spend down,” or subtract, your medical expenses such as the cost of hospital care or doctor’s visits from your income to become Medicaid eligible. This can lower your income so it’s below the maximum amount allowed by your state’s Medicaid program. To be eligible as “medically needy,” your measurable resources, such as savings accounts and certificate of deposits, also have to be under the resource amount allowed in your state. For more information on how Medicaid could benefit you or a family member visit

How To Find Out More About Medicaid

Each state has different laws about how much money and assets you can keep and still be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Contact your state Medicaid office, department on aging or state department of social services for more specific Medicaid information, Medicaid requirements and for a Medicaid application.

New Hampshire:   ServiceLink   1-866-634-9412

Maine:  Maine Bureau of Adult and Elderly Services   1-800-262-2232

Massachusetts:  Mass Health   1-800-841-2900

To learn more about the Medicaid program in other states, call the Center for Medicare/ Medicaid at 1-877-267-2323 or visit

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