Thursday, March 20, 2014
Jeffrey R. Grimyser (Student, Chicago-Kent College of Law) recently published an article entitled, Missing the Forest for the Trees: Why Supplemental Needs Trusts Should Be Exempt from Medicaid Determinations, 89 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 439 (2014). Provided below is the beginning of the introduction to the article:
Imagine a middle-aged man who recently suffered from a stroke, causing him severe brain trauma. His disability is permanent, so he now lives in a nursing home and needs frequent medical assistance. He has no income because he can no longer work, but through Medicaid, his state helps him out--paying for his health care because his assets are low enough to qualify him for the program. Later, his family decides to place his limited assets in a trust, the purpose of which is to have Medicaid continue to pay for his medical needs, but have the trust pay for items that Medicaid will not cover, such as books, television, internet, travel, clothing, and toiletries.
Under the law of the state where the man lives, he becomes ineligible for Medicaid when the trust is established. The policy behind the state law is to prevent individuals who receive Medicaid from spending their available assets on non-medical needs. This law is especially critical now, as the state has huge budget deficit issues partly because of increasing Medicaid enrollment and expenditures.