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Changes in Medicaid planning for elderly in Washington, D.C.

January 1, 2014, will mark the date for implementation of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act. One of the areas this may affect elderly Washington, D.C. residents is in Medicaid planning. Many elderly and their families rely on Medicaid to help pay for long-term care facilities along with other necessary medical treatment required by people as they age.

The potential for increases in costs and decreases in efficiency are just a couple of the concerns over how the new system will affect those applying for Medicaid. The way that eligibility is determined will be based on tax returns. Tax returns will be used to determine the size of a family in relation to its income. For many locales, this will be a departure from how other benefits are determined. The goal of the changes in the Affordable Care Act is to provide one set of qualifiers system wide instead of each state having its own qualifications.

Many people are being encouraged to apply online for Medicaid benefits since it may be the fastest and simplest way to do so. However, there is a concern that there isn't enough staff to take care of the amount of applications the system will receive for each locale, including Washington, D.C. Many states are beginning now to prepare for the changes that are coming at the beginning of the year.

Families may also want to begin preparing as well. Anyone that may already be aware that they will need Medicaid planning in the coming year may benefit from getting an early start just as many states are trying to do. Caring for elderly family members can often require diligent and careful planning to be sure they have all of the benefits and assistance they need – medical or otherwise.

Source: The Texas Tribune, "New Medicaid Eligibility Calculation Draws Concerns," Shefali Luthra, July 31, 2013

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