Archive

Archive for December 5th, 2022

Important Medicaid Updates for 2023

December 5th, 2022 No comments

Medicaid is federally and state-subsidized health insurance for eligible, low-income adults, children and pregnant woman, as well as elderly adults and people with disabilities.  It is administered by each state according to federal requirements.  New York’s Medicaid, believe it or not, provides some of the broadest coverage to individuals compared to other states, and in 2023, the updated budget will continue to recognize New Yorkers’ need to retain more assets and income while still benefiting from some public assistance for health benefits through Medicaid.  The following are some highlights of benefits that will further expand for NY Medicaid effective January 1, 2023[1]:

  1. Increased Income[2] Levels – We will see a raise in the allowable amounts for Medicaid income eligibility level from 100% to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level Income:
    • Individuals – Will increase from $934.00 monthly in 2022 to an estimated $1,563.00 monthly allowance in 2023.
    • Couples – Will increase from $1,367.00 monthly in 2022 to an estimated $2,106.00 monthly allowance in 2023.
  2. Increased Asset[3] Limits – Allowable asset maximum limits will increase for Community Medicaid Long Term Care recipients by 50% in 2023:
    • Individuals – From $16,800.00 in 2022 to an estimated $28,134.00 in 2023.
    • Couples – From $24,600.00 (combined) in 2022 to an estimated $37,908.00 (combined).

Additionally, since the country’s Public Health Emergency status currently continues through at least April 15, 2023, federal laws continue to prohibit any changes to current Medicaid beneficiaries’ benefits[4].  This means the ban on terminating or reducing Medicaid continues through (at least) April 2023.  In sum, NYS’ attempted implementation of a “lookback” for community Medicaid benefits that was supposed to become effective January 1, 2021, has now been postponed until March 31, 2024, at the earliest.[5] With every benefit generally comes a challenge or two.  For NYS’ Community Medicaid, this has been the newly implemented changes to medical eligibility determinations, following the assets and income eligibility determinations.  Applicants now must complete two (instead of one) medical assessments through the NY Independent Assessor contractor (formerly Maximus) in addition to long term care insurance company assessments.  These new assessments have tended to ultimately result in concerningly reduced care hour awards for community Medicaid recipients without advocacy support

If your eyes have glazed over trying to fully digest all in this update, the take-away we encourage is this: do not try to independently navigate the complex and constantly changing arena of Medicaid eligibility on your own.  If you or your loved one wants to plan ahead for or immediately needs financial assistance to planning or paying immediately for needed nursing or home care, call Kiley, Kiley & Kiley to help you.  Associate Attorney, Mary Beth Heiskell can’t wait to help you address your unique needs and goals around Medicaid eligibility, and our firms’ over 30 years of estates and trusts planning is also here to further assist.  Just call us!


Citations:

[1] This move to expand Medicaid eligibility is a result of the NYS Legislature and Governor reaching an agreement on the 2023 Fiscal Budget on April 8, 2022.

[2] Sources of income generally include social security, retirement account distributions, pension, income payable from a trust, and rental income.

[3] Assets generally include checking and savings accounts (including CD’s), non-qualified annuities, individual stocks, real estate (excepting one’s primary residence), and cash surrender value of life insurance. Tax-deferred retirement accounts, and traditional IRAs and 401ks, in payout status are generally not included as assets.

[4] See: https://health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign/mrt2/proposals/30-month_lookback-final.htm.  See also: Maintenance of Effort requirements under Section 6008(b)(1) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and the requirements for Home and Community Based Services under the American Rescue Plan Act.

[5] Note:  Nursing Home Medicaid continues to have a 60-month (or 5-year) lookback of all gifted asset transfers.

Categories: Healthcare, Medicaid Tags:

CHANGES TO “THE LAW”

December 5th, 2022 No comments

Wrongful Death:

PENDING THE GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE – both houses of the NYS Legislature have passed a bill which dramatically changes the present Wrongful Death law.  The Grieving Family Act will expand the definition of a family member to include “close family members”, including but not limited to, spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, grandparents, stepparents and siblings.  Furthermore, families of wrongful death victims will now be able to recover non-economic or intangible damages, which might include: Grief and emotional anguish caused by the victim’s death, loss of love, support, protection, and guidance. 

Click Here to Take Action: Concerned citizens can reach out to Governor Hochul with their thoughts and opinions. Visit www.hopefornyfamilies.com and submit your letter to the governor, today.

Medicaid:

N Y State’s attempted implementation of a “lookback” for community Medicaid benefits that was supposed to become effective January 1, 2021, has now been postponed until March 31, 2024, at the earliest.

Matrimonial Law:

New York’s child support formula for determining the appropriate amount of child support to award in any given case requires the court to apply a statutory percentage based on the combined parental income of both parents. As of March 1st, 2022, the income cap has increased to $163,000.  However, consistent with prior precedent, the trial courts have discretion to base child support upon combined parental income in excess of $163,000.

Remedies for Survivors of Sexual Assault:

On May 24th, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivor’s Act into law, establishing a one-year window for survivors to bring claims against abusers without the limits of the statute of limitations.

Increase in the Minimum Wage:

The Minimum Wage Act (Article 19 of the New York State Labor Law) requires that all employees in New York State receive at least $14.20 an hour beginning December 31, 2022. Minimum wage rates differ based on industry and region. On Long Island and in Westchester, the rate went up to $15 per hour.

No More Styrofoam in New York: 

As of January 1, 2022, New York State bans any single-use disposable polystyrene foam food service containers including bowls, cartons, clamshells, cups, lids, plates and trays. Additionally, polystyrene packing peanuts are illegal.

Marijuana Sales

New York legalized recreational use of marijuana to adults over the age of 21 in March 2021; but is still in the process of licensing people to sell it. The cannabis board also advanced proposed regulations for the sale of marijuana, with a focus on public health, product quality and safety and preventing those under 21 from buying cannabis.  Contrary to popular belief, you can’t buy marijuana just anywhere! 

Sport Betting is Legal in New York:

As of January 8, 2022,  the New York gaming commission gave their approval to four operators to start taking online bets from anywhere in the State including from a person’s own living room a bar or from the street.

Landlord-Tenant and Foreclosure Law:

Effective January 15, 2022, Hardship Declarations related to Covid-19 which were previously submitted to the courts will no longer automatically stay eviction proceedings and no new Hardship Declarations may be filed.

Guns:

As of September 1, 2022, New York State made statutory changes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision declaring New York’s restrictions on carrying concealed weapons unconstitutional.  This law enacted requirements for individuals seeking to obtain concealed carry pistol permits.  These included firearm training, in-person interview, and social media review, among others.  Also, the law outlawed conceal carry in sensitive locations including times square, bars, libraries, schools, government buildings and hospitals.  It also requires permit recertification or renewal every three years 

Robocalls: 

In November 2021, two bills were signed into law addressing robocalls.  The first requires telecommunications providers to block calls from numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. These types of numbers are indicative of ‘spoofing’ schemes in which the true caller identity is masked behind a fake, invalid number.”  The second requires that voice service providers implement the “STIR/SHAKEN” protocols to validate that calls are actually coming from the numbers displayed on the Caller ID.  The STIR/SHAKEN authentication protocol uses cryptography to validate that a call is really from the number it displays, preventing bad actors from illegally “spoofing” phone numbers.

Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards:

A bill signed into law on December 23, 2021 makes the falsification of COVID-19 vaccination cards a class A misdemeanor. It also creates a new E felony of third-degree computer tampering for “intentional entering, alteration or destruction of computer material regarding COVID-19 vaccine provisions.”

Mandatory Retirement Plans for Workers in Private Sector Businesses:

As of 2022, private sector businesses in New York must offer a retirement savings plan to their employees.  The new law requires private sector businesses that don’t currently provide their employees with a retirement plan to automatically enroll them in the state’s Secure Choice Savings Plan.

Homeowners’ Insurance and Pets:

A new law now prohibits insurers from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium for certain policies based solely on the breed of dog owned.