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On January 1, 2014, Sec. 2404 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will go into effect. Sec. 2404 applies the same spousal protections that are currently only for nursing home residents to be applied to spouses of Medicaid beneficiaries who receive home and community-based services under a waiver, a state plan, or through the PPACA’s Community First Choice Option.
For a period of 5 years, states will be required to apply the Social Security Act’s spousal impoverishment protections to the spouses of Medicaid-enrolled recipients of home and community based services.
The expanded spousal impoverishment protections help ensure the financial solvency of the Medicaid beneficiary’s spouse by providing the spouse with guaranteed minimum income and asset allotments, the levels of which are adjusted annually.
When the 5-year period expires, the Social Security Act will be interpreted to no longer mandate the application of these provisions to home and community based service waiver enrollees, state plan beneficiaries, or Community First Choice participants.