The Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance, commonly known as MassHealth is making a much overdue amendment to their existing regulations. Finally same-sex marriages, which have been recognized in the Commonwealth since late 2003, will be officially recognized by MassHealth. Governor Deval Patrick also signed the MassHealth Equality Bill nearly one year ago.
So what does this mean to spouses in same-sex marriages? They can now receive the same benefits as heterosexual marriages when applying for MassHealth for longterm care, meaning their assets can be considered jointly for eligibility purposes and MassHealth will also not penalize transfers between spouses in same-sex situations, as they currently do for traditional marriages. The definition of “family member” is also slated to be amended under the change.
The full text of the memo can be found below.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DIVISION OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
NOTICE OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF REGULATIONS
The Division proposes to amend its regulations under the authority of M.G.L. c. 118E, ss. 7 and 12 and pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 3. The Division describes the substance of the proposed actions as amendments to regulations found at 130 CMR 408.000: Adult Foster Care; 130 CMR 414.000: Independent Nurse; and 130 CMR 422.000: Personal Care Attendant.
On July 31, 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the MassHealth Equality Bill, which requires MassHealth to recognize state marriage laws when determining member eligibility for MassHealth programs. Accordingly, as stated in recently issued Eligibility Operations Memo 09-02, the definition of “spouse” in MassHealth regulations at 130 CMR 501.001 and 515.001 has been revised to include persons in same-gender marriages.
As a result of the above changes, a revision to the definition of “Family Member” for Adult Foster Care regulations under 130 CMR 408.000 and for Personal Care Attendant regulations under 130 CMR 422.000 is required, as is the definition of “Caregivers” for Independent Nurse regulations under 130 CMR 414.000. These revisions adjust the definition of “Family Member” and “Caregiver” to include a spouse “as defined at 130 CMR 501.001 and 515.001.”
It is anticipated that these amendments will not go into effect before September 1, 2009.
All persons desiring to submit data, views, or arguments concerning these proposed actions may submit them in writing to the Medicaid Director, EOHHS, One Ashburton Place, Room 1109, Boston, Massachusetts 02108, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailed comments should contain the sender’s name, mailing address, and organization or affiliation, if any. Comments will be accepted through July 31, 2009.
All persons desiring to review the current draft of the proposed actions may go to http://www.mass.gov/masshealth/proposedregs or request a copy in writing or in person from the MassHealth Publications Unit, 600 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111.
The Division may adopt a revised version of the proposed actions taking into account relevant comments and any other practical alternatives that come to the Division’s attention.
By Order of the Division of Medical Assistance
TOM DEHNER, MEDICAID DIRECTOR July 10, 2009