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Oops ... Early Retirees can get Medicaid in 2014
Old 06-21-2011, 12:56 PM   #1
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Oops ... Early Retirees can get Medicaid in 2014

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The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

Up to 3 million people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility.
Hmmm ... maybe the new healthcare won't be so bad

AP NewsBreak: A twist in Obama's health care law - Yahoo! News
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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Almost no chance that this will not be quickly torpedoed. I can see the press now, "Poor inner city children go without care while Medicaid doctors treat friends from their golf clubs and gated communities."

Not going to happen.

Ha
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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Almost no chance that this will not be quickly torpedoed. I can see the press now, "Poor inner city children go without care while Medicaid doctors treat friends from their golf clubs and gated communities."

Not going to happen.

Ha
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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part of my comments a while back in another thread that it is poor to assume how one can benefit (or not) from the health care bill. it is difficult to know, and until the rubber hits the road, no one really knows what reality will be.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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I don't understand the story. First paragraphs:
"A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department. Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility" my bold.

Then at the end of the story they give this example:

"how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000".

Seems to me the couple cold make $31,999 each and get the maximum SS benefit of $23,500 each if the SS isn't counted. I must not be understanding something.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by calmloki
I don't understand the story. First paragraphs:
"A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department. Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility" my bold.

Then at the end of the story they give this example:

"how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000".

Seems to me the couple cold make $31,999 each and get the maximum SS benefit of $23,500 each if the SS isn't counted. I must not be understanding something.
Good catch. Also, I think 3 million is a huge underestimation. It's not just the middle class, but the upper class as well. It takes a pretty substantial nest egg to throw off 64 K in income, especially considering deductions.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
Seems to me the couple cold make $31,999 each and get the maximum SS benefit of $23,500 each if the SS isn't counted. I must not be understanding something.
I don't think $64,000 is the precise maximum, even assuming $23,500 * 2 = $47,000 of the income is from SS. I think it is just a round number in-the-ballpark example.

Quote:
That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent.
So $14,710 * 133% = $19,564.30, or $14,710 * 138% = $20,299.80 is probably the maximum allowed "counted" income. It is just by adding the "not counted" SS that the grand total made it up into the 60k range.

I suspect congress will tweak the law before 2014. Since I doubt they also excluded dividends or even tax-free bond interest, I don't think my household will be qualifying for Medicaid any time soon.

It looks to me like you have to be married, both of you need to have managed to pretty much max out your SS, and you needed to "retire early" with less than roughly $20k in pension, interest, dividend, and other income to have anything close to $64,000 combined gross income while still qualifying for Medicaid.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
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It looks to me like you have to be married, both of you need to have managed to pretty much max out your SS, and you needed to "retire early" with less than roughly $20k in pension, interest, dividend, and other income to have anything close to $64,000 combined gross income while still qualifying for Medicaid.
It looks like you also need to take your SS before you qualify for Medicare. So you are either disabled, or you are 62+ years old.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bamsphd View Post
I don't think $64,000 is the precise maximum, even assuming $23,500 * 2 = $47,000 of the income is from SS. I think it is just a round number in-the-ballpark example.

So $14,710 * 133% = $19,564.30, or $14,710 * 138% = $20,299.80 is probably the maximum allowed "counted" income. It is just by adding the "not counted" SS that the grand total made it up into the 60k range.

I suspect congress will tweak the law before 2014. Since I doubt they also excluded dividends or even tax-free bond interest, I don't think my household will be qualifying for Medicaid any time soon.

It looks to me like you have to be married, both of you need to have managed to pretty much max out your SS, and you needed to "retire early" with less than roughly $20k in pension, interest, dividend, and other income to have anything close to $64,000 combined gross income while still qualifying for Medicaid.
I read the article, then came here to see the commentary.

The formula is simpler.

If a person has income (NOT including SS) of 138% of the poverty level ($14,710 this year), they can get medicaid.

That income is $14,710*138%=$20,300.
The MAX SS a person can get at age 62 (according to article) is $23,500.

So
$23500+$23500+$20,300=$67300.

The first two $23500 are the MAX SS benefit a person can take in 2014 at age 62, the $20,300 is the max income a person can have to qualify for medicaid. The SS numbers do NOT affect medicaid eligibility.

Quote:
The Medicare actuary's office roughed out some examples to illustrate how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000.
That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:49 PM   #10
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If it happened it would be great news for individuals with health problems having individual premiums. My pension would preclude me even if it was available. I'm afraid I'm going to get zapped hard if they strike down the mandated part of the healthcare act, but still keep the the rest of the act intact.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:03 PM   #11
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Those of us who have prudently saved won't get a break from this.

If I could get health insurance totally resolved, I would be out of here tomorrow. Or the next day, maybe. But I'm afraid health insurance for me, my wife and our 20 year old would be in the $20,000 range--I am in great, great health, but had a congenitally deformed aortic valve replaced 4 years ago and will hopefully need another before I die. I also had a bad accident a year and a half ago that will someday require hip replacement. I'm on no meds, exercise and all that, but I'm probably close to uninsurable.

If I could get cheap or free health insurance until I turned 65, I'd jump on it. But my unearned income is way over their limits, unless unearned income doesn't count.
Maybe I will like Obama care!
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:14 PM   #12
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As a couple posters have pointed out, this looks like they decided to ignore gov't program income, including SS, when calculating Medicaid qualifications.

But, I have always believed that Medicaid also has an asset test that's pretty restrictive. So this couple would have to have two sets of maximum SS earnings for at least 35 years, but not accumulate any meaningful assets to qualify. Certainly an unusual situation.

OTOH, two sets of median earnings would give SS benefits at 62 of 2*$13,700 = $27,400. Add that to the $17,000 and get $44,400 for the couple. That still seems pretty high for a program aimed at poor people.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:37 PM   #13
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There have been a bunch of earlier threads that touch on this. As far as I know Kaiser Foundation does the best job of keeping track of changes in the health care legislation.

As things stand, in 2014 those whose income falls in the ranges being discussed here will be eligible for either a subsidy or for Medicaid. There is NO means-testing involved (unlike for current Medicaid for those 65 and over). As others have remarked, it's intended to be a safety net for those who can't afford insurance premiums.

In our case as an ER'd couple living off of assets and living on well under 30K per year (and with a taxable income, due to cap. gains rates) of less than half that this would mean we'd be fully covered under Medicaid. Now given that almost no local docs are even taking Medicaid patients we look at this as being government-sponsored catastrophic/emergency room insurance only, which is still a great deal, given that we are currently spending close to a quarter of our monthly "draw" paying the premiums on high-deductible individual policies that go up ~10-25% annually.

Lots of time for Congress to improve/amend/further screw this up between now and 2014.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
I don't understand the story. First paragraphs:
"A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department. Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility" my bold.

Then at the end of the story they give this example:

"how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000".

Seems to me the couple cold make $31,999 each and get the maximum SS benefit of $23,500 each if the SS isn't counted. I must not be understanding something.
I believe the confusion may come from sloppy writing, and the desire to sell their point about unfairness. Here is a key sentence "That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent." So if federal povery for 2 people is $14,710, then 133 % of that is $19564 and their non-ss income is below this. With some room to spare, but they are writers, not mathematicians.

Ha
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:02 PM   #15
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It looks like you also need to take your SS before you qualify for Medicare. So you are either disabled, or you are 62+ years old.
This is a misunderstanding. You can qualify for Medicare if you are covered by your work credits, and you are age >= 65. The other way is to be on SS disabilty for 2 years.

You do not have to be drawing SS to get Medicare.

Ha
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:01 PM   #16
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I believe the confusion may come from sloppy writing, and the desire to sell their point about unfairness. Here is a key sentence "That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent." So if federal povery for 2 people is $14,710, then 133 % of that is $19564 and their non-ss income is below this. With some room to spare, but they are writers, not mathematicians.

Ha
Thanks for being an excellent writer WITH math skills! This is incentive for some of us to keep our taxable income within this very low range. I think one can also see why Congress doesn't care a whole lot about closing this loophole, since the number of people ER'd and living on taxable incomes that low has to be quite small.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:22 PM   #17
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In PA you could make $400.00 a month and still not qualify for Medicaid if you have cash or investment assets in your name over about $2000.00 or $3000.00 for a single person. You pretty much have to exhaust everything you have to be eligible. You can own a car and a residence.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:49 PM   #18
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In PA you could make $400.00 a month and still not qualify for Medicaid if you have cash or investment assets in your name over about $2000.00 or $3000.00 for a single person. You pretty much have to exhaust everything you have to be eligible. You can own a car and a residence.
My brother is on Medicaid and SSDI in Oklahoma. This is certainly true there. In fact, when my mom gives something to help him out she can't give more than about $500 at a time to make sure she doesn't make him ineligible for future benefits (or have the state come after him to repay benefits previously paid).
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:19 PM   #19
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Almost no chance that this will not be quickly torpedoed. I can see the press now, "Poor inner city children go without care while Medicaid doctors treat friends from their golf clubs and gated communities."
I can only imagine the riders, amendments, add-ons, pork and other such DC effluent that congresscritters will attempt to attach to any bill modifying obamacare. If the feature was unintentional, it's reversal will be a bumpy ride.

I can see the headlines now: "See what happens when you vote on a bill without reading it."
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