Recently, legislators in Maine passed a bill that will allow spouses to be reimbursed by Medicaid for the support they provide. In the past, these men and women were not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement as a spouse.
There are millions of family caregivers supporting aging and disabled loved ones across the country. Many of them are eligible to receive some level of Medicaid reimbursement for the services they offer. This is done as a way to help states reduce long-term care costs.
When a person is able to remain home with the support of a family member or home care provider, it is far less costly than nursing home care or an extended stay in a hospital setting. However, in Maine, spouses have not been included in these provisions and couldn’t receive reimbursement, even if they were doing all of the same types of work that another home care provider would do.
This new legislation, LD 84, changes that for residents of the state. According to Maine Wire’s blog, Common sense home healthcare reform provides relief for vulnerable Maine families, written by William Rolfe:
“Under LD 84, spouses can be hired as their loved one’s personal support specialist after a federal waiver has been approved allowing the state to reimburse spouses for these services. In addition to spouses being paid, families will no longer be required to hire someone from an outside agency to provide care. Families looking for continuity of care have struggled grappling with new providers in their home on a regular basis, if one shows up all. LD 84 will improve the financial security of these families, and by receiving the services they require, elderly and disabled Mainers will be able stay in their homes longer.
Allowing people to remain in their homes for as long as possible is fundamentally the right thing to do, and it also provides fiscal benefit to the state.”
According to the Association for Long Term Care Planning, the cost of an assisted living facility in Maine, on average, is $59,892. For nursing home care, it is $108,405. For a person receiving 40 hours of care each week at home, the state would reimburse about $38,500 for these services, according to these estimates.
By offering spouses the opportunity to be reimbursed through Medicaid for the support services they offer, it not only allows more seniors an opportunity to avoid costlier and less comfortable places to stay, it also saves the state money. An experienced, dedicated home care aide is a viable and viable option, sometimes spouses are a great first line of defense.
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