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Congress Passes Short-Term Medicaid HCBS Protections

The Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act, which provides a six-month extension for the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) spousal impoverishment protections, has passed both bodies of Congress and now heads to the White House where it is expected to be signed into law. 

The legislation also includes another $20 million for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing Demonstration Grant, which helps Medicaid beneficiaries with chronic conditions and disabilities to transition from nursing homes to community-based settings. Since 2005, the program has helped over 88,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in 44 states. 

Longer-term protection for spouses of older adults receiving HCBS covered by Medicaid would be provided under a separate bill -- Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act. This bill permanently extends spousal impoverishment protections for Medicaid beneficiaries receiving long-term care in a home or community-based setting. Under current mandates, spousal impoverishment protections in Medicaid prevent unnecessary financial hardship in cases where one spouse needs long-term care in a nursing home or other residential setting.

LeadingAge will continue to advocate for a much-needed longer extension of the MFP program, and a permanent extension of the spousal impoverishment protections 

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