As we have heard at the MassNAELA meeting, the regulations that were proposed by MassHealth in November are expected to be implemented at the end of September. Although the final regulations have not been published, they are near completion and we understand that the proposal to discontinue allowing MassHealth eligible people 65 and older to contribute to pooled trusts will be included.
MassNAELA, along with other pooled trust organizations, filed legislation in January to ensure that disabled seniors 65 and older would continue to be able to utilize these trusts, essentially keeping what is currently in the regulations. This legislation is in the Health Care Finance Committee and had a public hearing on May 2nd, 2017. Because the regulations seem to be just weeks away from being implemented, the legislation is the best alternative to these damaging regulations.
Please call your legislator by September 29th to inform them of this legislation and ask them to contact the Health Care Finance Chairmen to move the bill out of Committee with a favorable report.
Here's how to do this:
1. Find out who your state legislator is here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/bal/MyElectionInfo.aspx
2. Look to see if they are on the Health Care Finance Committee:
House Members: Peter Kocot(Chairman), Jeffery Roy (Vice Chairman), James M. Cantwell, Carolyn C. Dykema, Tackey Chan, Daniel Cullinane, Daniel M. Donahue, John C. Velis, Carmine L. Gentile, Steven Ultrino, Randy Hunt, Mathew Muratore, Leonard Mirra.
Senate Members: James Welch(Chairman), Joseph Boncore (Vice Chairman), Michael J. Barrett, Barbara A. L'Italien, Eric P. Lesser, Jason M. Lewis, Bruce E. Tarr.
3. See the attached bill texts to see if your legislator co-sponsored the legislation. The House bill is the same as the Senate bill except for the names of legislators who co-sponsored each bill.
4. Call your Representative's and Senator's office and say this (only add in the piece about HCF Committee member if they are):
"Hi, my name is ____ and I'm a constituent of (Representative/Senator) _____. I understand that the (Rep or Senator) is a member of the Health Care Finance Committee and I wanted to speak to someone about a bill in that Committee.
As a constituent, I want to urge the (Rep/Senator) to protect disabled seniors by contacting the Health Care Finance Chairmen, Senator Welch and Representative Kocot, and urging them to provide H2074/S629 with a favorable report immediately. MassHealth has proposed regulations that are expected to be implemented by the end of the month that will harm disabled seniors by not allowing them to utilize pooled trusts while remaining eligible for MassHealth. Pooled trusts allow disabled individuals to keep assets in a highly regulated special needs trust that allows them to maintain their quality of life by permitting them to pay for services and care not covered by MassHealth. MassHealth is paid the excess in the account up to the cost of MassHealth services when the individual passes away. This legislation will maintain the policy that has been followed by MassHealth for 20 years enabling those disabled individuals to continue to maintain those trusts. It does not add more individuals to MassHealth or require any additional funding.