April 7, 2016
We carefully followed the 2016-17 New York State budget proposals, which threatened to change Medicaid eligibility rules. Now that the budget process is complete, we are happy to report that the rules remain unchanged.
The following are the key budget points concerning Medicaid eligibility:
- 1. Spousal Refusal remains a viable Medicaid planning tool. Although the initial New York State budget proposed to eliminate spousal refusal, the final budget did not remove spousal refusal from our arsenal of Medicaid planning techniques. Spousal refusal is an invaluable mechanism that a married person can use to become eligible for Medicaid benefits, without penalty. Under the new budget assets can continue to be transferred from the ill spouse to the well spouse, and an over-resourced spouse can continue to assert his or her right to spousal refusal and refuse to support the ill spouse while at the same time achieving Medicaid eligibility for the Medicaid applicant. For now, this tool is safely preserved;
- 2. The Spouse Impoverishment Resource Allowance remains at $74,820 rather than being reduced to $23,820. The resource allowance is the amount of assets the well spouse is permitted to keep when their ill spouse is receiving Medicaid benefits, either in the community or in a nursing home; and
- 3. For individuals receiving Medicaid services under the Traumatic Brain Injury & Nursing Home Transition & Diversion Waivers, the mandatory transition to Managed Long Term Care has been delayed to January 1, 2018.
The bottom line to the budget negotiations is that important Medicaid planning tools remain available for our clients. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call us.