nursing home 0527222SPRINGFIELD – Spouses of people in Medicaid-funded long-term care facilities will soon be able to keep more of their own personal savings thanks to State Senator Julie Morrison.

“By aligning Illinois’ allowance for community spouses with the rest of the country, we are signaling to older adults that we care for them and wish to give them the ability to care for themselves and their spouse with no added stress,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “This is their money – there’s no reason they shouldn’t be have access to it.”

Morrison’s plan – found within House Bill 4343 – will put Illinois in line with nearly every other state in the nation by increasing the allowance for the community spouse resource allowance for older adults whose spouses are in nursing homes and receiving Medicaid benefits. The allowance is the amount of resources a spouse can keep of the couple’s resources without affecting their husband or wife’s long-term care facility nursing home application.

Morrison originally spearheaded this part of the larger Medicaid law signed Friday through Senate Bill 2962. After passing the Senate, it was combined with a number of other standalone Medicaid-related bills to produce a greater overhaul package.

In 2012, Illinois froze its rates for spouses of individuals who receive Medicaid-funded, long-term care at $2,739 per month, so those spouses are not receiving an annual bump in their benefits. However, in many other states across the country, the amount is set at $3,259.

“Illinois is now aligning itself with the national standard by complying with the federal rate,” Morrison said. “Spouses of those who are in nursing homes are already dealing with enough stress – the lasts thing they need is the additional stress of not being able to access their own money.”

House Bill 4343 was signed into law Friday.