A new brief from KFF (the Kaiser Family Foundation) examines potential changes to “spousal impoverishment” rules in Medicaid that allow married couples to protect a portion of their income and assets should one spouse seek Medicaid coverage for long-term care. A provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires state Medicaid…
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Potential Changes to Medicaid Long-Term Care Spousal Impoverishment Rules: States’ Plans and Implications for Community Integration
Congress created the Medicaid spousal impoverishment rules 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. Originally, states had the option to also apply the rules to home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers. Section 2404 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is set to expire on December 31, 2018, changed the spousal impoverishment rules to treat Medicaid HCBS and institutional care equally. This issue brief answers key questions about the spousal impoverishment rules, presents selected 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 extend Section 2404.
More than four years after the implementation of the Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act, debate and controversy around the implications of the expansion continue. Despite a large body of research that shows that the Medicaid expansion results in gains in coverage, improvements in access and financial security, and economic benefits for states and providers, some argue that the Medicaid expansion has broadened the program beyond its original intent diverting spending from the “truly needy”, offers poor quality and limited access to providers, and has increased state costs. New proposals allow states to implement policies never approved before including conditioning Medicaid eligibility on work or community engagement. New complex requirements run counter to the post-ACA movement of Medicaid integration with other health programs and streamlined enrollment processes. This brief examines evidence of the effects of the Medicaid expansion and some changes being implemented through waivers. Many of the findings on the effects of expansion cited in this brief are drawn from the 202 studies included in our comprehensive literature review that includes additional citations on coverage, access, and economic effects of the Medicaid expansion.
Research Shows That Medicaid Expansion Has Resulted in Coverage and Economic Gains Without Affecting Traditional Groups or Other State Programs
States that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act generally have seen gains in coverage, improvements in access to and affordability of health care, and net fiscal benefits, a growing body of research and data show. At the same time, Medicaid expansion has not diverted coverage from traditional groups…
Data Note: Data Do Not Support Relationship Between Medicaid Expansion Status and Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Waiting Lists
Some have said that state choices about whether to adopt the ACA’s Medicaid expansion come at the expense of providing Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS). Since 2002, the Kaiser Family Foundation has surveyed states about their HCBS waiver waiting lists. All states offer at least one HCBS waiver for seniors and people with disabilities today. States choose how many people to serve under these waivers, and their ability to limit enrollment can result in waiting lists when the number of people seeking services exceeds the number of waiver slots. This analysis examines the most recent data available, including HCBS waiver waiting list data for 2015 and 2016. The data do not support a relationship between a state’s Medicaid expansion status, which is primarily financed with federal funds, and changes in its HCBS waiver waiting list.
Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services: Results From a 50-State Survey of Enrollment, Spending, and Program Policies
This report summarizes the national trends to emerge from the latest (2014) enrollment and spending data for the three main Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) programs: (1) the mandatory home health services state plan benefit, (2) the optional personal care services state plan benefit, and (3) optional § 1915 (c) HCBS waivers. It also highlights key findings on 2016 program policies, such as waiting lists, managed long-term services and supports, and provider payment rates.
State interest in Medicaid Section 1115 behavioral health waivers, including mental health and substance use disorders, remains high. As of November, 2017, there are 15 approved and 11 pending behavioral health waivers in 22 states. This issue brief describes recent waiver activity in four areas: using Medicaid funds to pay for substance use and/or mental health services in “institutions for mental disease” (IMDs), expanding community-based behavioral health benefits, expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover additional people with behavioral health needs, and financing delivery system reforms.
This issue brief discusses four key issues related to long-term services and supports (LTSS) including institutional and home and community-based services (HCBS) quality, highlighting major legislative and policy changes over the last 30 years since the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act.
Brief Examines Per Enrollee Medicaid Spending for Seniors and People with Disabilities, Which Varies Greatly By State
Medicaid coverage of acute and long-term care for more than 6 million low-income seniors and 10 million nonelderly people with disabilities accounts for nearly two-thirds of overall Medicaid spending, although such enrollees represent less than a quarter of people on Medicaid. Much of Medicaid’s spending on seniors and people with…
This issue brief explains the variation in Medicaid spending per enrollee for seniors, nonelderly adults with disabilities, and children with disabilities compared to other populations as well as the variation in per enrollee spending for these populations among states. It also provides a snapshot of state choices about optional eligibility pathways and services important to many seniors and people with disabilities.