The Commonwealth is home to more than 1 million residents age 65 and over. Some of these people are both financially secure and healthy. However, a recent Massachusetts Commission on Elder Economic Security report highlighted that 6 in 10 single elders do not have the income to meet their basic needs. They are often aided by the MassHealth program, which includes Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
On Tuesday, July 30, State Director Mike Festa testified at a hearing of the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Joint Health Committee in support of two bills relating to the protection of assets for those on Medicaid and planning for long-term services and supports. One, An Act Regarding the Countable Assets of Medical Assistance Recipients, would exempt the funds held by a community spouse in an individual retirement account, Keogh plan, or similar pension fund from counting against the Medicaid assistance of the spouse living in a nursing home. The other, An Act Relative to Transfers of Assets by MassHealth Members, would make regular financial actions by moderate- and low-income families to assist one another in times of need less likely to preclude the transferors from being able to get MassHealth assistance for nursing home care. Both of these bills would strengthen Medicaid options for older Bay Staters considering long-term services and supports, and AARP Massachusetts will continue to keep you informed on their progress in the weeks to come.
A new proposal by the Patrick Administration, funded through the Affordable Care Act , will coordinate health and long term care services for those aged 21 to 64 who receive both Medicare and MassHealth , the state’s Medicaid program. Newly created “Integrated Care Organizations,” will be responsible for making sure these individuals receive the services that address their full range of needs through one access point. The proposal may take effect as early as this Fall.
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