NAELA Raises Concerns Regarding Medicaid Waivers Seeking to Restrict Access to Long-Term Care

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Maine and Iowa have sought from CMS changes to the Medicaid program that include new limits to individuals in need of long-term care.

www.NAELA.org

This seemingly narrow change to the transfer of asset rules sets an extremely dangerous precedent.

NAELA recently submitted comments on Maine’s proposed waiver, which includes an unprecedented move to add new restrictions to the transfer of asset rules in Section 1917 of the Social Security Act.

The Maine waiver would require that if an individual or their spouse purchased an annuity within five years of the date of their Medicaid application for long-term care, the length of the annuity must be equal to at least 80 percent of the life of the individual.

“This seemingly narrow change to the transfer of asset rules sets an extremely dangerous precedent,” notes NAELA President Hy Darling, CELA, CAP. Maine’s proposal would shift more risk onto the spouse of someone in a nursing home. Additional changes to Section 1917 could result in fewer people in need of long-term care getting access to the Medicaid program.

Section 1917 sets many of the key rules around resources. NAELA is concerned that if CMS approves this waiver, other states will follow suit with even more severe restrictions.

At the same time, Iowa has sought an amendment to its Medicaid waiver to repeal retroactive coverage for all beneficiaries, including those in need of long-term care. Under federal law, individuals can receive up to three months of retroactive coverage, if they were eligible during that time period. That retroactive coverage often ensures that people in need of long-term care do not face thousands of dollars in expenses during that three-month period, which can be devastating to those with limited financial resources. NAELA joined 13 other national organizations that represent the interests of the elderly and persons with disabilities in opposing this waiver.

“It is very difficult as well as time consuming to get all the materials together needed to apply for Medicaid, particularly if the person has dementia. Meanwhile, you need to be sure that person is receiving care,” said Darling.

About NAELA
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

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Abby Matienzo, Communications Manager
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