Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have agreed on the final Health Budget Bill and the Legislation has rejected the elimination of spousal refusal and rejected the attempt to expand the assets that could have been recovered by Medicaid.
I am proud to say that this came about because of a concerted effort of the New York State Bar Elder Law Section and the New York State chapter of NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys). As President of NY- NAELA and a member of the Legislative Committee of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section, I offer congratulations and kudos to my colleagues who worked together to protect New Yorkers FINAL – both the elderly and their family members.
This is great news for New Yorkers.
The potential for financial disaster for New Yorkers could have been enormous. Here’s why:
On January 18, when Governor Cuomo revealed his 2012 health budget bill, it contained a provision to eliminate spousal refusal. If a spouse required nursing home care, the couple would have had to exhaust all of their assets in excess of approximately $113,640 (the residence still remains exempt) and $2,841 in monthly income. Everything else would have had to be used to pay for health care bills, including IRAs and other retirement accounts.
Under the proposal, NYS also had wanted oversized recovery powers following the death of a Medicaid recipient. This would have included the power to recover assets from any life estate retained by the recipient, joint bank or securities accounts, IRA accounts, and any trusts that can distribute income or principal to the recipient or were established using assets that were transferred by the recipient.
If a spouse is on Medicaid, the couple who owns a house can only retain annual income of $33,000. Imagine having to pay normal living expenses such as food, utilities, clothing, maintenance and REAL ESTATE TAXES here on Long Island!
If you’d like to learn how this good news will benefit you or your family members, call my office.