The “spousal impoverishment protection” makes it possible for an individual who needs a nursing home level of care to qualify for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) while allowing their spouse to keep a modest income and resources to support their basic needs. Congress extended the protection for three months in January 2019 (H.R. 259), but the spousal impoverishment protection will expire on March 31st unless Congress acts again now. It’s critical to keep this protection in place as we work towards a permanent solution that ensures married couples have the same financial protections whether they receive Medicaid long-term services and supports at home or in an institution.
20190301 – This week, Rep. Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Upton (R-MI), introduced a bill (HR 1343) to make the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) spousal impoverishment protection permanent. However, the window is narrowing to pass this bill or another extension before the current short-term extension expires on March 31. As our new fact sheet explains, it is important to keep the protection in place while we work with Congress on a longer term solution.