MI Choice Waiver

Published on
August 1, 2023
Last updated
February 29, 2024
Written by
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Katie Wilkinson
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The MI Choice Waiver Program in Michigan offers Medicaid-covered services to eligible adults, empowering them to receive nursing facility-level care in their own homes or community-based settings while potentially compensating unpaid family caregivers through a self-directed option.
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Historically, nursing homes were often the only option for older or disabled individuals needing care. However, the landscape has evolved, and various alternatives now exist, enabling individuals to receive necessary care while maintaining independence. The MI Choice Waiver Program, administered by Michigan Medicaid, is one such initiative. Originally known as the Home and Community-Based Services for the Elderly and Disabled (HCBS/ED) waiver program, it has evolved into the MI Choice Waiver Program, offering Medicaid-covered services to eligible adults while allowing them to stay in their homes or another residential setting.

Overview of MI Choice Waiver Program

The MI Choice Waiver Program, administered by Michigan Medicaid, is a vital initiative designed to provide crucial long-term care services to eligible adults while allowing them to remain in their homes or community-based settings. The program's primary objective is to offer an alternative to nursing home care, empowering individuals with disabilities and seniors to maintain their independence and quality of life.

To be eligible for the MI Choice Waiver, applicants must meet specific income and asset criteria and require a nursing facility level of care. Participants must be 18 years or older, residents of Michigan, and U.S. citizens or qualified non-citizens. The program caters to a diverse range of individuals, including those with physical disabilities, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and older adults in need of long-term care.

Once enrolled in the program, participants gain access to various Medicaid-covered services, such as adult day health, counseling, nursing services, respite care, home-delivered meals, and more. Additionally, they receive support coordination to help them navigate and optimize available resources.

The MI Choice Waiver Program, available in all Michigan counties since 1998, plays a crucial role in supporting the well-being and dignity of eligible adults by promoting community-based care, reducing institutionalization, and acknowledging the invaluable contribution of family caregivers in the healthcare system.


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Eligibility Requirements for the MI Choice Waiver Program

Individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria to participate in the MI Choice Waiver Program, ensuring services are provided to those requiring long-term care support. Below are the detailed requirements:

  1. Age and Residency: Applicants must be 18 or older and are legal residents of Michigan.
  2. Need for Nursing Facility Level of Care: Individuals must require the level of care typically provided in a nursing facility, which includes assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) due to physical disabilities, cognitive impairments, or medical conditions.
  3. Income Limits: The program has income limits to determine eligibility. These limits may vary and are subject to change based on federal guidelines and the applicant's living arrangement (e.g., living alone, with a spouse, or others).
  4. Asset Criteria: Applicants must meet specific asset criteria to qualify for the program. Certain assets, like the home and personal belongings, are typically excluded from consideration.
  5. U.S. Citizenship or Qualified Non-Citizen Status: Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or have qualified non-citizen status to be eligible for the MI Choice Waiver.
  6. Choice of Residential Setting: The program allows participants to choose between receiving care in their homes or a community-based setting instead of residing in a nursing facility.
  7. Functional Assessment: A functional assessment determines the individual's need for long-term care services.
  8. Medicaid Eligibility: Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for Michigan Medicaid, as the MI Choice Waiver Program is a Medicaid initiative.

Services and Supports Under the MI Choice Waiver Program

The MI Choice Waiver Program offers various services and supports to eligible participants, tailored to meet their unique long-term care needs. These services aim to enhance their quality of life, promote independence, and provide comprehensive care in their preferred residential setting. Some of the key services and supports available under the program include:

  1. Adult Day Health (Adult Day Care): Participants can access supervised daytime programs offering health, social, and therapeutic activities.
  2. Chore Services: Assistance with household tasks like cleaning, laundry, and shopping, helping individuals maintain a safe and healthy living environment.
  3. Community Health Worker: Trained professionals offer support with health-related tasks, medication management, and general wellness.
  4. Community Living Supports Individualized assistance to help participants with daily activities, promoting community integration.
  5. Community Transportation: Transportation services enable participants to attend medical appointments, social activities, and community events.
  6. Counseling: Access to counseling services to address emotional and mental health needs.
  7. Environmental Accessibility Adaptations: Home modifications and adaptations to improve accessibility and safety.
  8. Fiscal Intermediary: Assistance with financial management related to program services.
  9. Goods and Services: Provision of essential items like medical supplies and assistive devices.
  10. Home-Delivered Meals: Nutritious meals delivered to participants' homes.
  11. Nursing Services: Skilled nursing care and medical support.
  12. Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS): Emergency alert systems for immediate assistance in an emergency.
  13. Private Duty Nursing/Respiratory Care: Specialized nursing services for individuals with complex medical needs.
  14. Respite Services: Temporary care services, allowing family caregivers to take a break from their caregiving responsibilities.
  15. Specialized Medical Equipment and Supplies: Access to medical equipment and supplies tailored to individual needs.

Participants in the MI Choice Waiver Program receive personalized care plans designed in collaboration with support coordinators to ensure their unique requirements are effectively met. These services foster independence and community inclusion and recognize and support the critical role of family caregivers in delivering care and enhancing the overall well-being of program beneficiaries.


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Compensation for Caregivers under the MI Choice Waiver Program

The MI Choice Waiver Program does offer compensation for unpaid family caregivers through a self-directed option. Under this option, eligible participants have the flexibility to choose their caregivers, including family members, and can receive payment for the caregiving services they provide. This approach acknowledges family caregivers' significant role in supporting their loved ones and recognizes their valuable contributions to the healthcare system. By compensating family caregivers, the program aims to enhance the overall quality of care, foster stronger relationships between caregivers and care recipients, and empower families to participate in the care process actively. This self-directed option provides caregivers with financial support while allowing individuals to receive care in the comfort and familiarity of their homes or community-based settings.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>

A Note from Givers

The MI Choice Waiver Program empowers individuals to maintain their independence and dignity. If you or someone you know might benefit from this program, take the first step today. Fill out this form to determine caregiver compensation eligibility and experience community-based care's transformative impact.

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