The Elder Firm, LLC - Nathan J. Forck, Attorney

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another WIN for Medicaid-compliant Annuities!

(From  "John Lopes was married, residing in a nursing home, and in need of assistance.  Amelia Lopes, John's spouse residing in the community, purchased a Medicaid Compliant Annuity, and shortly thereafter made a Medicaid application on behalf of her husband.  The Connecticut Department of Social Services denied the application after determining that the payment stream Amelia was receiving was a resource that rendered John ineligible for Medicaid.
The matter progressed to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, under the argument that the payment stream was income that did not count against John's eligibility in light of the annuity being non-assignable.  The district court granted summary judgment to the Lopeses, and Connecticut appealed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the district court ruling that the income stream from a Medicaid Compliant Annuity cannot be considered an available asset for the purposes of Medicaid eligibility.  Lopes v. Dept. of Social Services (2nd Cir., No. 10-3741-cv, Oct. 2, 2012).  The court further ruled that it was irrelevant that the Medicaid Compliant Annuity was purchased just prior to John's Medicaid application.  Thankfully the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lent their opinion in this case, affirming that the Lopeses position was consistent with Medicaid's primary purpose of providing healthcare to the indigent and protecting community spouses from impoverishment."

Federal retirement COLA of 1.7 percent announced (Washington Post)

"Federal retirees will receive an inflation adjustment of 1.7 percent in January, translating to about a $50 increase in the average monthly payment under the annuity program for most of them.
The increase, based on an inflation measure announced Tuesday, mirrors the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to be paid to Social Security beneficiaries."


Friday, October 5, 2012

( Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act: What happens when states refuse to enlarge this coverage to its residents?

I get a lot of questions about how the ACA or "Obamacare" will effect Medicaid benefits for my elderly clients.  Theoretically, it should have no effect on them since the ACA primarily expands Medicaid to persons under the age of 65 and doesn't do anything to specifically reduce the amount of benefits currently available to seniors.  It is almost impossible to address this issue without addressing the politics, but I think this article from does a pretty good job laying out the basics of the ACA's effect on Medicaid.