Senate gives initial approval to Bellows bill to support Mainers with terminal diagnoses

Posted: February 13, 2020 | Senator Bellows

A bill sponsored by Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, to help Mainers with terminal illnesses received initial, unanimous support in the Maine Senate on Thursday. LD 362, “Resolve, To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Submit a State Plan Amendment To Exempt Retirement and Educational Assets from Calculations for Medicaid Eligibility,” ­­­­­would make it so Mainers facing a terminal diagnosis would not have to deplete savings meant for their children’s education or their spouse’s retirement when applying for Medicaid coverage.

“Mainers facing a terminal diagnosis should not have to deplete savings meant for their children’s education or their spouse’s retirement when applying for Medicaid coverage,” said Sen. Bellows. “Receiving a terminal diagnosis is a scary situation, and we shouldn’t be compounding that by adding worry that your family will be financially ruined, your kid won’t be able to afford college, or your spouse won’t be able to ever retire.”

LD 362 ­­­­requires the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to request a waiver from the federal government to be allowed to make a change in Medicaid eligibility requirements for individuals with disabilities under 65 years of age who have dependent children living in the home, by disregarding assets held in qualifying retirement and education accounts.

The bill faces additional votes in the Maine Senate and votes in the Maine House of Representatives in the coming weeks.