Medicaid benefits to be extended for same-sex couples

Liz Sauchelli Contributor
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The Obama administration is ready to announce Friday that Medicaid benefits will be extended to cover same-sex couples.

However, because the announcement is not a mandate, states will not be required to give these benefits to same-sex couples.

According to the Washington Blade, self-described as “America’s Leading Gay News Source,” states have the option to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid.”

Examples of long-term care include nursing home or hospice care. Medicaid care for long-term care is only available to an individual after they run out of money to pay for their care. In return for paying for care, the state can take possession of an individual’s house as a lien.

For married same-sex couples federal law forgoes a lien if an individual’s spouse is still living in their house when they are receiving long-term care. According to the new guidance “states can offer this protection to the healthy partner of a Medicaid recipient in a same-sex relationship,” the Blade reported.

Under the Defense of Marriage Act, this provision had not been clarified. It will allow individual states to come up with their own criteria for determining when a lien is needed for Medicaid care and when it is not.

For more information: Obama extends protections to gay couples under Medicaid