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Florida Bill jeopardizes family caregiving arrangements

3-16-2011 - Florida "personal service contracts" -- i.e., a person prepaying a loved one for caregiving services  -are considered exempt for Medicaid eligibility purposes. This will change if the Florida Legislature passes Senate Bill 1356. The bill would make personal service contracts "gifts" for Medicaid elibility purposes. That would make it tougher for the person being cared for to tap into Medicaid longterm benefits if ever needed.

What does this mean?  Let's say an adult child really wants to care for his parent first-hand, but cannot afford to do so without some compensation. Under the proposed law, any monies given to the child for caregiving services would jeopardize the parent's access to future Medicaid longterm care benefits. Thus, the proposed law makes it more likely for seniors to have to rely on outside caregivers -- who they will have to pay anyway! Ultimately, this could mean more seniors going into facilities rather than aging in place at home, usually the preferred choice.

Interestingly, the Veteran's Administration does allow personal service contracts. The V.A. will pay a veteran or veteran's widow in order to compensate a relative who is providing non-medical caregiving services.

If you want to make your feelings known about SB 1356, contact your elected officials.

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