2017 started off with a bang in the MassHealth world! The end of 2016 brought with it some unexpected proposed MassHealth regulation changes which forced elder law attorneys across the state to scurry like mad before the holidays to review and comment on the new regulations which were originally set to take effect on February 1, 2017 but still have not been officially implemented. Some of the most impactful changes are the proposed elimination of pooled trusts for nursing home MassHealth applicants over the age of 65, and no longer permitting MassHealth applicants to fund supplemental needs trusts for non-child beneficiaries. While the written comments prepared by MassNAELA members as well as the testimonies of 15 lawyers at a public hearing in Worcester in mid-December may prove helpful in convincing MassHealth to reconsider some of the changes, we expect that many of the proposed regulations will take effect soon.
On January 5, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard oral argument on two pending irrevocable income only trust cases. We should finally receive some clarity on the future of these trusts for MassHealth planning this spring. Stay tuned for updates in this ever-changing area of the law!