MassHealth May Force Seniors to Dismantle Trusts
Hundreds of disabled seniors in Massachusetts may soon face a daunting choice if they want services under the state’s Medicaid program: Ditch the trusts they set up to pay for extras, such as dental work and a home health aide, or risk losing public benefits. MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid health insurance program for nearly 2 million low-income and disabled residents, is considering changes in eligibility requirements that would make it harder for residents older than 65 to establish special-needs trust accounts and still qualify for nursing home care and other health services from state and federal government agencies. Massachusetts officials say the proposed changes are aimed at ensuring the state’s Medicaid rules comply with 2008 federal Medicaid guidelines, and lessen the strain on the $15 billion MassHealth budget. The revisions under consideration would require disabled seniors to spend down their personal financial resources — including held money in a trust — before tapping into MassHealth. “As part of our regulations review, MassHealth proposed some clarifications to its eligibility regulations to ensure compliance with both federal and state law,” said Sharon Torgerson, a spokeswoman for MassHealth. But advocates for disabled seniors argue the changes would deny some residents small comforts that improve their quality of life and could cost the state more money by forcing those living independently into more expensive nursing home care financed by taxpayers.
Source/more: Boston Globe
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.