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Helping People Age with Dignity

MassHealth eligibility rules could be changing

When it comes to addressing long-term care costs in their elderly years, some individuals rely on benefits from Massachusetts’ Medicaid program: MassHealth. So, what the eligibility rules are for such benefits can have major impacts on seniors in the state. Some changes have recently been proposed to these rules.

The changes reportedly would make it more challenging for disabled individuals over 65 to both have a special needs trust account and be eligible for MassHealth benefits. Special needs trusts are trusts aimed at helping individuals with disabilities with extra expenses. Examples of such expenses include those related to utilities, clothing, health aides or dental work. The changes would make it so assets in such accounts would generally be among the assets disabled seniors would have to spend down in order to access MassHealth benefits. Among the reasons given for the proposed changes are to make sure MassHealth rules are in line with federal guidelines.

Some argue that the changes could have negative impacts on disabled seniors in the state. One wonders if the proposed changes will ultimately be made and, if they are, what effects the changes will prove to have.

Among the things changes in the rules for MassHealth eligibility can impact for seniors in the state is what sorts of planning options are available to them when it come to long-term care planning. When rule changes occur, skilled elder law attorneys can help seniors in the state with identifying if the changes would impact their long-term care planning and, if they would, what steps are available for revising their planning to address these impacts.

Source: The Boston Globe, “MassHealth may force seniors to make hard choice,” Deirdre Fernandes, Jan. 3, 2017

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