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The Illinois DRA rules will require a person to enter a nursing home or supportive living facility before the person will be eligible for Medicaid coverage of their care. Apparently, Medicaid coverage of at-home care will no longer be available.

Life Care Planning, Estate Protection, Disability,
VA & Medicaid Assistance Lawyers

Governor Blago at the OK Corral

 

Before his conviction, it seems that the former Governor intended to pick a fight with the federal government over long-term care . . . as he had done with the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada.  As strange as it may seem, the delay since 2006 in implementing the long-term care provisions of the federal Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) in Illinois appears to have been part of Blago's grand scheme to be seen and heard fighting for the "little guy" on health care.

 

The sheriff, however, caught up with the Governor before he got to the OK Corral for the contrived and pretentious shoot-out with the federal government.  Now that the street has been cleared of the roadblock, Illinois is moving ahead to implement the revisions to the long-term care Medicaid rules mandated by DRA.

 

Unfortunately, the proposed revisions to the Illinois Medicaid rules, which are currently pending but not yet adopted, go much further than required by the federal DRA.  For example:

 

  • The new Illinois long-term care Medicaid rules will be retroactive to February 8, 2006, the date the DRA was signed into law by President Bush. The DRA merely mandates a five year "look-back" period; it does not mandate retroactivity.
  • The Illinois DRA rules will require a person to enter a nursing home or supportive living facility before the person will be eligible for Medicaid coverage of their care. Apparently, Medicaid coverage of at-home care will no longer be available.
  • Under the current rules, a transfer of assets that creates a "penalty period" (during which Medicaid will not cover the cost of care) can be cured by returning all or a part of the assets that were transferred. Under the new rules, nothing short of a full return of the assets will remove the "penalty period."
  • The new rules will penalize all gifts or transfers, even small gifts made for charitable, church, or educational purposes.
  • The proposed rules also create massive barriers to rectifying an ill-advised transfer . . . barriers which are not required by the federal DRA law.
  • Finally, contrary to long-standing public policy in Illinois of discouraging divorce, the proposed rules will force many married couples to divorce in order to protect the financial security of the spouse that remains at home.

 

In short, seniors and their care-giving family members are at risk.  Seniors and those who love them need to do what they can before the effective date of the new long-term care Medicaid rules.  They need to consult - without further delay - with a knowledgeable and experienced elder law attorney on the steps they need to take to protect themselves, their home (or farm), and a life-time of savings.

Richard Habiger is the author of the Illinois edition of How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets and is an elder law attorney, who focuses on asset protection, Medicaid and VA benefits. You may contact him at 618-549-4529 or info@HabigerElderLaw.com.

 

 


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1808 Clark Street, Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: 618-985-4529
Toll Free: 800-336-4529

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Phone: (618) 985-4529