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War on Poor Elders: House Committee looking at reducing
Medicaid home equity caps and Community Spouse Income


As if long term care consumers aren’t punished enough, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is now considering capping the Home equity limits back to the minimum ($500,000 plus inflation). No increases will be permitted by the states regardless of the property values in that state. Although the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (signed by President Bush) set a home equity limit of $500,000 above which persons would not be eligible for long term care Medicaid, it also allowed states the option to begin the equity limit at $750,000, which California did.  With annual increases since 2006, the maximum home equity limit is now $828,000 in California. Given the property values in California, a limit of $500,000 would be devastating to many long term care consumers, force them to sell their homes and – what the reverse mortgage industry really wants – force them to take out predatory reverse mortgages that will end up eating up all the value of their homes.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing will be held next Tuesday: 

Examining Legislation to Improve Medicare and Medicaid

Medicaid Home Improvement Act

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has also been raising concerns on HR 1771, which would limit community spouse annuities, requiring half the income to flow through to the institutionalized spouse. It was part of a hearing on Sept. 11. Republicans are expected to push it through and mark it up.
Click here for hearing info (and bill text)

Don’t you love the irony - “Medicaid Home Improvement Act” - Please contact your congressperson and ask him/her not to mess with the home equity limits or spousal income.      

We need to stop this war on elders and long term care consumers!  Between the onerous limits on transfer of assets in order to qualify for Medicaid in – at best - a mediocre nursing home; proposed VA Aid and Attendance rules that would limit war tested veterans to 2 acres of property in order to be eligible for home care,  regardless of where they live; proposed limits on home equity in order to force elders to enter into predatory reverse mortgages – this is, indeed, a war on our elders – the same ones who’ve paid the taxes to create these programs in the first place.

Please contact your congressperson and ask him/her not to mess with the home equity limits or spousal income or VA Aid and Attendance rules – enough is enough!