Saturday, April 9, 2011
Same-sex couples are one step closer to receiving protections that heterosexual married couples get when they receive long-term care through Medicaid — that is, the healthy partner will be able to keep some of the ailing partner’s money and remain in their home.
At least, that’s the goal. Right now, only opposite-sex married couples receive those rights because the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
To qualify for long-term care through Medicaid, individuals generally have to spend their money until it’s practically depleted. But married couples can keep more money so that healthy spouses don’t have to impoverish themselves to qualify the sick spouse for care. Nor do they have to worry about giving up their home to raise money to pay back Medicaid for its services after their spouse dies. They can stay put for the rest of their lives.
As a work-around, the Obama administration is close to notifying the state-run Medicaid programs about how they can replicate these protections for same-sex domestic partners, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.