Saturday, April 19, 2014

The legal basis of the "no asset test" rule

We noted in our March 2 post that CMS's web-published materials announce that asset limits will not apply to disqualify persons newly eligible for Medicaid on the basis of their Modified Annual Gross Income - i.e., the "Obamacare" Medicaid expansion applicable in many but not all states. Michigan is included.

The legal basis for this position is the new 42 USC 1396a-e-14, added by the Affordable Care Act and effective January 2014, which includes as its subparagraph C:

(C) No assets test.—A State shall not apply any assets or resources test for purposes of determining eligibility for medical assistance under the State plan or under a waiver of the plan. 

The statute goes on to make exceptions under subparagraph D, however, for those who were previously eligible on other bases. Just to be clear, it also specifically exempts anyone over the age of 65. Thus, we will still have resource limits for those who wish to qualify for Medicaid coverage for nursing home care for the elderly.

(D) Exceptions.—
    (i) Individuals eligible because of other aid or assistance, elderly individuals, medically needy individuals, and individuals eligible for medicare cost-sharing.— 

Subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) shall not apply to the determination of eligibility under the State plan or under a waiver for medical assistance for the following:
       (I) Individuals who are eligible for medical assistance under the State plan or under a waiver of the plan on a basis that does not require a determination of income by the State agency administering the State plan or waiver, including as a result of eligibility for, or receipt of, other Federal or State aid or assistance, individuals who are eligible on the basis of receiving (or being treated as if receiving) supplemental security income benefits under subchapter XVI, and individuals who are eligible as a result of being or being deemed to be a child in foster care under the responsibility of the State.
       (II) Individuals who have attained age 65.

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