New Jersey has approved an amendment to its Medicaid program that will allow elderly or disable people that receive money in excess of the Medicaid eligibility limit of $2,163 a month to deposit funds into irrevocable trust accounts and allow withdrawals to be used for qualified living expenses and care services. Medicaid would then pay for the remainder of their care, whether it is in a nursing home or in the individual's home. The intent behind the new law is to assist those people who earn too much to qualify for full assistance, but not enough to cover the cost of their care, to have more flexibility and avoid being placed in nursing homes prematurely.
"With these trusts, the individual who wants to live at home and age in place will have the capability of being able to live at home or remain in their communities while getting the long-term services and support they need," said Lowell Arye, deputy commissioner for the aging division of the Department of Human Services.
Services provided under the new program will be managed by four insurance companies rather than by state regulators or county social workers. The state does not have an estimate for the number of people who are likely to use the program, but believes that the changes it is making to its long-term care system will ultimately save the state money by helping more people to age in place.