Using Medicaid to Cover Services for Elderly Persons in Residential Care Settings: State Policy Maker and Stakeholder Views in Six States. Confusion Among Consumers


Several expressed concerns that the residential care system was very confusing for the public.

  • Consistency in terms would help because the current situation is very confusing to people who can't figure out the difference among all the options: CBRFs, RCACs, assisted living.

  • In Wisconsin, "Consumer Beware" is the operative condition because a person with three cots in their basement can call themselves assisted living.

  • Currently, "buyer beware" prevails. The public does not understand the distinction between Community Based Residential Facilities and Residential Care Apartment Complexes and how they differ from assisted living. I don't understand the distinction. The Wisconsin web site that has information about these facilities is outstanding -- but the ability to utilize the web is an issue. Some older persons and their families don't have computers, and some don't know how to use them to find information.

  • Because CBRFs and RCACs have considerable latitude in what services they offer, the situation is very confusing for the public; it is very difficult for consumers to find what they are looking for.

  • Most people haven't a clue what an assisted living facility is and don't know the difference between CBRFs and RCACs. They all call themselves assisted living. I pulled up all the assisted living sites on the web and the list included both CBRFs and RCACs. There is some helpful information from the state on the web, but in Wisconsin, the average age of assisted living entrants is 82 or 83 -- they are not likely to have computers and the families don't really understand what they need and which facility can best provide it.

  • Because of the competition, CBRFs are blurring the distinction between the two types of facilities with regard to how they look. There are more new CBRFs with apartments and private rooms and baths. This is good as long as it does not exclude Medicaid eligibles. In fact, Medicaid eligibles will probably wind up in the crummier CBRFs with lower room and board rates.

  • AARP did a survey last year and asked our members and the general public about who paid for assisted living and most believed that Medicare paid for it.

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