In case you missed our latest Arizona Republic article in the weekly Seniors and the Law Column, it is written below. Our column runs every Saturday in select Arizona cities.
Q: I have heard a lot about the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This seems to suggest that there will be greater access to ALTCS, is this true?
While the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) does indeed expand Medicaid, this expansion has no impact on ALTCS. The ACA will uniformly extend Medicaid coverage to individuals who earn less than 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit, which will allow a great number of additional individuals onto the rolls of Medicaid. Importantly, though, long-term care is a subcategory of Medicaid, to which the ACA did not make any significant changes. Put succinctly, then, the ACA will allow greater ease of eligibility for AHCCCS, but it does not facilitate eligibility for ALTCS.
The ACA did try to address long-term care concerns with a provision commonly referred to as the CLASS Act. This provision aimed to provide the public with an option to purchase long-term care insurance, but there was evidence indicating that the insurance program lacked actuarial soundness. Resultantly, the CLASS Act was repealed in January 2013, and a bi-partisan commission was created in its place to address the challenges that seniors face with accessing long-term care. Once the commission is fully formed, it will have six months to prepare its recommendations for addressing our nation’s long-term care dilemma, and it is possible that the recommendations could be submitted as a Senate Bill for congressional adoption.
The take-away point here is that while there is some attention being devoted to long-term care, there are currently not any changes coming down the pike for ALTCS. Seniors who need coverage for long-term care should not expect greater ease of eligibility once the ACA is fully implemented. Just like before the ACA, ALTCS eligibility is reserved for those who satisfy stringent medical, income, and resource tests.
Seniors and the Law is authored by the attorneys at JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law and addresses legal issues that arise for the elderly and their families. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.