Massachusetts Considers Banning Special Needs Trusts That Many Seniors On Medicaid Use To Pay For Extra Care healthcare blog credited to Deirdre Fernandes GLOBE STAFF  JANUARY 03, 2017

The state is considering altering Medicaid eligibility requirements for residents older than 65 who have special-needs trust accounts and require nursing home care and other health services. 

Hundreds of disabled seniors in Massachusetts may soon face a daunting choice if they want services under the state’s Medicaid program: Ditch the trusts they set up to pay for extras, such as dental work and a home health aide, or risk losing public benefits.

MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid health insurance program for nearly 2 million low-income and disabled residents, is considering changes in eligibility requirements that would make it harder for residents older than 65 to establish special-needs trust accounts and still qualify for nursing home care and other health services from state and federal government agencies.

Massachusetts officials say the proposed changes are aimed at ensuring the state’s Medicaid rules comply with 2008 federal Medicaid guidelines, and lessen the strain on the $15 billion MassHealth budget. 

The revisions under consideration would require disabled seniors to spend down their personal financial resources — including held money in a trust — before tapping into MassHealth.

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