How Long Does the ALTCS Application Take?

The Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) application can take anywhere from 60 days to 6 months to complete. Each application is unique and depends on a variety of factors, including medical and financial eligibility. If an applicant is over income and has to create a Miller Trust, you can expect the application’s processing time to substantially increase. Also, a large percentage of applicants find they are denied the first few times they apply. This of course increases the overall time until a person receives benefits.

How do I Apply to ALTCS?

Many Arizona seniors have heard of ALTCS, but aren’t exactly sure how to apply. Although every application is different, based on unique circumstances, there are steps that must be completed:

Opening up an ALTCS Application

An application must be manually opened by the person in need of care or their authorized representative. This can be done by calling a local AHCCCS office, hiring a long-term care planning agency like Senior Planning, or by using an elder law attorney. It’s worth noting that social workers sometimes open up applications before a person is discharged from the hospital. While this can be helpful to get the process started, many people mistakenly believe the social worker will be completing the application on their behalf. Generally, this is not the case. Also, opening an application does not mean an applicant will be approved. If you opened an application more than 14 days ago and have not heard anything from AHCCCS, the application is most likely closed. You should call immediately because most likely, you will have to re-open a new ALTCS application.

ALTCS Financial Assessment

Once the application is opened and assigned to a state caseworker, they will schedule a time for a preliminary financial assessment and interview. This usually happens about 10-14 days after the initial opening of the application. ALTCS is a Medicaid program so there are strict limits on how much income and assets an applicant can have. If a person is over income or assets at the time of application, they will be immediately denied. This can be frustrating because many people are not familiar with the rules and don’t understand why their new ALTCS application is suddenly denied. If you have been denied, give us a call and we can help you discover why.

Financial Document Submission

Whether or not you use a professional service or do the application on your own, you will have to provide documentation backing up the claims made during the financial interview. ALTCS has the right to look up to five years back at transfers, gifts, sales, or any other monetary transactions they deem noteworthy. If transfers are found, the application may be denied or penalized. Generally, an ALTCS caseworker will allow you to submit bank statements or receipts to try to explain any transfers.

ALTCS Medical Assessment

The next component of the application is the medical assessment. This is where a medical professional from ALTCS performs an in-person assessment on the individual applying. The medical evaluation is out of 60 points and the less the patient is able to do on their own, the more points they receive. For example, if a person cannot walk on their own, they will be award points. Points are given for physical disability as well as official memory diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Applicants may be required to provide medical records, diagnoses, and/or doctor’s notes.

Choosing an ALTCS Service Provider

If everything goes well and an applicant is approved, they must next choose a program contractor, basically the insurance provider. There are several providers to choose from. The best way to choose the appropriate provider is to find a facility of your choice and pick one of their providers that they accept. If you choose the wrong provider, you will not be able to move into the specific facility. Different facilities have contracts with different providers. This is also true of doctors. Ask your doctor which provider they accept.

If you have questions about any part of the application, please give us a call and we would be more than happy to help.

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