En español | Medicaid recipients who want to remain in their homes and communities and get benefits to help them with basic needs such as eating, bathing and dressing can continue to get these services without fear that their spouses will suffer financial harm, under a bill Congress has sent to the president’s desk.
Without the measure the Senate approved unanimously on Tuesday, these spouses of Medicaid recipients wouldn’t be able to protect some modest amounts of their income and assets. Under the extension, in 2019, states must allow spouses to keep at least $2,057.50 in monthly income and may allow up to $3,160.50 without jeopardizing the services their husband or wife receives at home or in the community. States must also allow spouses to protect between $25,284 and $126,420 in assets. The bill, which the House passed last week, extends these protections through September.
“This extension ensures that individuals can continue to get the Medicaid benefits they need to live in their homes and communities where they want to be and that their spouses are protected against impoverishment,” says Rhonda Richards, a senior legislative representative at AARP.
Medicaid has long protected some assets and income of spouses of people who receive care in nursing homes or other institutions. In 2014, Congress extended that protection to spouses of Medicaid enrollees who get services that help them live independently in their homes and communities. The protections are designed to ensure that families can remain together at home and in the community and still have enough resources to pay for such essentials as food, medicine, rent and home repairs.