Livens & Reed, PLLC

House set to consider Medicaid planning bill

Long-term care planning is a complex issue for Texas residents and others around the nation. As lifespans continue to increase, more senior citizens wrestle with the questions of how and where they will receive care should they become unable to look after themselves. A bill before the nation's House of Representatives could affect the practice of Medicaid planning as part of long-term care options.

Currently, an individual must go through a rigorous application process to meet Medicaid eligibility requirements from both the state and federal level. If approved, the person can receive nursing home care in a skilled care facility. "Spousal impoverishment" rules must also be applied when determining eligibility for Medicaid. This bipartisan bill, scheduled for a vote in mid-January, would protect a portion of the assets and income for the spouse of a person receiving Medicaid care through home and community programs.

The bill also allows for Medicaid funds to be spent on providing care in homes so that they do not have to go to a facility. The program, called Medicaid Money Follows the Person, could provide funding for home health care, adult daycare, homemaker and other personal care services. These efforts may grant the opportunity for many elderly citizens to safely stay in their own homes for a much longer time.

Although this bill may provide protection, some individuals may still wish to consider Medicaid planning as part of their long-term care planning. A Texas attorney familiar with elder law can provide guidance throughout this complex process. A knowledgeable lawyer will work with clients to develop a plan that will protect their loved ones and ensure that their long-term care needs are met.

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