What Qualifies a Person for a Nursing Home in Iowa?

Seniors must meet certain medical and financial requirements before they can be admitted to a nursing home in Iowa.

At Huizenga Law, we help elderly individuals and their families navigate the complexities of nursing home qualifications. Read on to learn what these are and whether you or your loved one will be able to access nursing home care.

Medical Requirements for Nursing Home Care

Nursing home services are reserved for elderly individuals with serious health issues that require frequent or round-the-clock care and medical supervision. To be admitted to a nursing home, your loved one must have their medical condition(s) documented and confirmed by a physician.

You will also need to submit the following documents to the facility:

  • Physician’s order for admission to a nursing home
  • Physician’s order for medications and treatment 
  • Medical history and physical examination
  • State-required form for nursing home admission
  • Health care tests 
  • Completed admissions paperwork 

Additionally, the nursing home staff may also ask for the following:

  • Dietary requirements
  • Power of attorney (POA)
  • Living will 
  • End-of-life care wishes
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) paperwork
  • Medical orders for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST)

Financial Requirements for Nursing Home Care

Many seniors turn to Medicaid to fund part of their nursing home costs. To qualify for Iowa Medicaid in 2023, applicants must meet the following requirements:

Residency and Citizenship

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or lawful resident and an Iowa resident.


The applicant must be 65 or older, blind, or disabled and meet certain requirements regarding the level of required long-term care.

Income Limits

The applicant’s monthly income must be under $2,742, excluding a $50 personal needs allowance.

Asset Limits

Medicaid classifies assets as exempt and available. Exempt assets will not disqualify the applicant. Conversely, the applicant must liquidate available assets above the allowable limit and use them to fund their costs of care before they can receive Medicaid benefits.

Exempt assets in 2023 in Iowa for single applicants include:

  • Up to $2,000 in cash
  • Personal belongings and household goods
  • One motor vehicle
  • One home with up to $688,000 equity value, if the applicant has a spouse or a child under 21 or a disabled person lives in the property
  • Dividends from life insurance (up to $1,5000), excluding interest
  • Pre-paid burial or funeral expenses

An experienced elder law attorney can explain how nursing home qualifications work and whether you or your elderly loved one meet the criteria.

If you don’t qualify for nursing home care, you may be eligible for other forms of assistance, such as assistance with daily living activities. Either way, your attorney can help you devise a financial plan to minimize the costs of long-term care and protect your assets.

Contact an Iowa Nursing Home Lawyer Today

Nursing home qualifications can be complicated. Our skilled team at Huizenga Law can walk you through the legal jargon and help you understand your options. Call us at (712) 737-3885 or contact us online to schedule your consultation with a nursing home attorney.