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Implications of the Expiration of Medicaid Long-Term Care Spousal Impoverishment Rules for Community Integration

To financially qualify for Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS), an individual must have a low income and limited assets. In response to concerns that these rules could leave a spouse without adequate means of support when a married individual needs LTSS, Congress created the spousal impoverishment rules in 1988. Originally, these rules required states to protect a portion of a married couple’s income and assets to provide for the “community spouse’s” living expenses when determining nursing home financial eligibility, but gave states the option to apply the rules to home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers.
Section 2404 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed the spousal impoverishment rules to treat Medicaid HCBS and institutional care equally from January 2014 through December 2018. Congress subsequently extended Section 2404 through December 2019. This issue brief answers key questions about the spousal impoverishment rules, presents 50-state data from a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey about state policies and future plans in this area, and considers the implications if Congress does not further extend Section 2404.

Unwinding of the PHE: Maintaining Medicaid for People with Limited English Proficiency

Provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) require states to maintain continuous Medicaid enrollment for enrollees until the end of the month when the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends. When the continuous enrollment requirements end and states resume redeterminations and disenrollments, individuals with LEP may be at increased risk of losing Medicaid coverage or experiencing a gap in coverage due to barriers completing these processes, even if they remain eligible for coverage.

Expanding Medicare to Adults at Age 60 Years—Medicare-for-More?

In this column for the JAMA Health Forum, Larry Levitt examines the implications of lowering Medicare’s age of eligibility, which is emerging as a potential pathway toward Medicare-for-all or a public option among single-payer advocates. He explores the implications for costs, industry, people and broader reform efforts.

Two Medicaid-Related Initiatives That Help Promote Long-Term Care at Home and in the Community, Rather Than in Institutions, Are Set To Expire at the End of December

Two initiatives that for years have helped shift Medicaid enrollees away from nursing homes in favor of long-term care at home and in the community face year-end deadlines that could undercut that trend, according to two new KFF issue briefs. While there does not appear to be substantive disagreement over…

How Connecting Justice-Involved Individuals to Medicaid Can Help Address the Opioid Epidemic

This issue brief identifies key lessons learned from how four states (Missouri, Ohio, New Mexico, Rhode Island) are connecting people leaving the criminal justice system to Medicaid coverage and services, with a focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and supports for people with opioid use disorder. It builds on previous briefs that assessed state efforts to connect people involved in the justice system to Medicaid coverage. It is based on interviews conducted in late 2018 and early 2019 with state Medicaid, behavioral health, and corrections officials in the four states and in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, as well as interviews with managed care organizations, providers, and advocates in those states and published information on the states’ experiences.

Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, and Cost Sharing Policies as of January 2020: Findings from a 50-State Survey

This 18th annual survey of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) provides data on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal, and cost sharing policies as of January 2020. The survey findings highlight state variation in policies that affect individuals’ ability to access coverage and care amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. They also provide examples of actions states can take to expand eligibility and simplify enrollment to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.