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Herald Palladium: Upton, Dingell team up against Medicaid 'spend downs'

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Washington, November 18, 2018 | comments
Upton, Dingell team up against Medicaid 'spend downs'
Herald Palladium 
November 18, 2018 

WASHINGTON — There would be fewer seniors “spending themselves broke” in order to qualify for Medicaid to fund long-term care under legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and Debbie Dingell, Upton’s office reported Friday.

Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Dingell, D-Dearborn, introduced legislation to make permanent financial protections for seniors who receive long-term care in home or community settings. Current protections for those in home or community settings expire Dec. 31.

“Long-term care for our seniors and their families should be about improving quality of life,” Upton stated in a news release. “Our bipartisan bill does that. It will help seniors protect their nest eggs and improve home and community-based services here in Michigan and across the country. I’m glad to partner with Rep. Dingell to push this much-needed fix across the finish line.”


Medicaid – the primary payer for long-term care, services and supports – includes protections to prevent a spouse from depleting all their financial resources due to a significant other’s long-term care needs. In order to maintain Medicaid eligibility, beneficiaries with a family member needing long-term care, services or supports may be put in a situation in which they need to “spend down” their resources or potentially bankrupt themselves in order to get care.

Permanent protections exist for those in nursing homes or similar institutions.

But protections will expire in a few weeks for those in home or community care – which tends to be less costly and less disruptive for families.


Dingell and Upton have introduced the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act. The legislation permanently extends spousal impoverishment protections for Medicaid beneficiaries getting long-term care in a home or community care setting.

Upton’s office said the bill is supported by the National Council on Aging, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Autism Society of America, Community Catalyst, National Association for Home Care & Hospice, Jewish Federations of North America, LeadingAge, National PACE Association, Center for Medicare Advocacy, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Center for Public Representation, and Justice in Aging.

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