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This is the eighth article in a series by elder law attorney Richard Habiger, published exclusively in the SENIOR VOICE, which discuss changes to the Medicaid law that will have a devastating impact on many middle class families in southern Illinois.

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

Innocent Seniors Take a Medicaid Hit

Innocent Seniors Take a Medicaid Hit

Nursing Homes and Other Facilities Also Will Be Casualties

 

 

            This is the eighth article in a series by elder law attorney Richard Habiger, published exclusively in the Senior Voice, which discuss changes to the Medicaid law that will have a devastating impact on many middle class families in southern Illinois.

 

            Medicaid has become the major way the middle class finances long term care.  Consequently, when changes are made to the Medicaid program those changes are bound to affect long term care facilities as well as seniors.

 

            Medicaid is a 40-year-old program that provides medical benefits to the elderly and disabled.  It has a major impact on health care delivery and financing in southern Illinois - in fact in all of Illinois and the rest of the country.  With nursing home costs in southern Illinois now running $36,000 to $54,000 per year or more, most families must eventually rely on Medicaid to help finance some of their long-term care needs.

 

            The President and many members of Congress made political promises to cut taxes and, at the same time, to slash billions from the federal budget. On February 8, 2006, the so-called "Deficit Reduction Act" (DRA) took effect which savaged the Medicaid budget by cutting $10 billion that would otherwise be available to help the most vulnerable elderly and disabled.  The new law, intended to shift more of the cost of long term care to the elderly and their families, also will have a profound affect on nursing homes, assisted (supportive) living facilities, and hospitals.

 

            One of the challenges that lawmakers always face is the "unintended consequences" of the laws they pass.  Frequently lawmakers pass sweeping legislation designed to address some issue.  The problem is that, from time to time, the laws cause problems in areas they were not meant to address.

 

            Without a doubt, the DRA - the new Medicaid law - drastically and dramatically increases the complexity and unfairness of the Medicaid eligibility rules.  Indeed, many are just beginning to wake up to the problems the new Medicaid law poses for nursing homes, assisted (supportive) living facilities, and their residents.  Hospitals and their patients also will be caught in the vortex of the changes.

 

            To help nursing homes and other facilities, as well as seniors and their families, begin to assess the impact this new law may have on them the accompanying chart sets out the major changes made by the new Medicaid law.  Warning, the chart is not designed to be comprehensive or to be a substitute for advice from a knowledgeable professional.

 

            Richard Habiger is an elder law attorney.  You may contact him at 618-549-4529 or Richard@HabigerElderLaw.com.