CMS Releases New 2015 Medicaid Numbers
To download the Free 2015 Spousal Impoverishment summary in PDF, click on the following link:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the new annual spousal impoverishment figures for 2015. The full numbers are contained in the 2015 Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Desk Reference, which you can download for free by clicking the link at the bottom of this article.
Here is a quick recap of the new figures and what they mean:
2015 ASSET LIMITS
The New minimum Community Spousal Resource Allowance (CSRA) is $23,844.00. The new maximum CSRA is $119,220.00.
Reminder, in the straight deduction states the Max CSRA is the asset cap. Any asset amount below that is sufficient to qualify for long-term care Medicaid. For example, if a couple has $100,000 in countable assets, then in the straight deduction states they do not need to spend down any further. Also, in straight deduction states the minimum CSRA never comes into play.
In the one-half deduction states, the minimum and maximums are both used. For example, take the couple with the $100,000 in resources on the “snapshot” date (i.e., the date of admission to the nursing home or the hospital for a stay preceding the nursing home stay). In a one-half deduction state, the CSRA calculation would assess one-half of the total countable resources as the CSRA. Take the total countable resources of $100,000 and divide by 2 to yield the CSRA of $50,000.
Where the maximum is used in a one-half deduction state is when the countable resources exceed twice the maximum. For instance, a couple with $300,000 would only be able to set aside $119,220 for the CSRA. The remaining assets would be exposed to the Medicaid spenddown.
The minimum CSRA is a floor and only factors in when one-half of the total amount of countable assets falls below the minimum threshold. For example, if a couple has $40,000, then the CSRA would not be $20,000 because that’s below the minimum. The CSRA in that case would default to the new minimum $23,448.
Also note: In most states the new CSRA limits apply to snapshot dates in 2015 only. Typically, if an applicant’s snapshot date is 2013 but they apply in 2015, the CSRA amount will be based on the CSRA for snapshot date in 2013 and not the application date of 2015.
2015 INCOME LIMITS
The Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) is $1,966.25 (for all states except Alaska and Hawaii). The new maximum amount is $2,980.50. The Maintenance Needs Allowances are set mid-year and these numbers remain in effect until July 1, 2015. This figure is used to determine how much of the patient’s income a community spouse can keep.
The new Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance is $589.88 (for all states except Alaska and Hawaii). This figure is part of the formula to determine if excess shelter expenses can be used to boost the MMMNA. Like the MMMNA, this number also changes mid-year and remains in effect until July 1, 2015.
2015 HOME EQUITY LIMITS
The new minimum Home Equity Limit is $552,000. In the handful of states that have adopted an upper limit, that amount is $828,000 for 2015. As we have seen a significant recovery in the housing market, this equity limit – once again – has become a serious factor for long-term care patients. NOTE: This limit does not apply if the patient is married; but if the community spouse dies and the home automatically becomes owned by the patient spouse as a result of joint ownership on the deed, it could cause the patient to become ineligible for Medicaid.
If you want more information on how to calculate the CSRA or how to maximize the conversion of excess assets to income you should consider purchasing the Medicaid Planning Guidebook or taking the Medicaid Planning course. We provide a full range of support for advisors of all varieties to assist with their Medicaid Planning cases, including advisor mentoring and case design services. We also offer a full range of Medicaid Compliant Annuities and other valuable planning tools to assist with solving the most difficult of Medicaid Planning issues. You can make 2015 a more profitable year by learning how to help people navigate long-term care Medicaid eligibility and asset protection!
To get your FREE 2015 Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Desk Reference, click here.