by MDN Staff

Elderly and disabled Medicaid recipients would be allowed to possess more assets under a measure sent to the governor in the legislature’s final week.

Currently, a Medicaid recipient is allowed to possess no more than $1,000 in assets. A person is disqualified from the health-coverage program if that limit is exceeded.

Under the measure now before the governor, the asset limit would be increased in stages over a series of years starting at $2,000 in 2018 and eventually reaching a limit of $5,000 in 2021. After that, the asset limit would be adjusted on the basis of cost-of-living increases.

“We’re trying to help people become more self-reliant… less dependent on others, more self-reliant, to be able to stay in their homes longer,” said the Senate handler of the measure, Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield.

Dixon said Missouri has the lowest asset limit for Medicaid in the nation. It has not been changed since 1968. Excluded from the limit are assets such as the recipient’s home, life insurance, burial property and funeral trusts.

The state administration estimates more than 10,000 additional persons would be qualified for Medicaid when the asset limit increase is fully implemented. However, Dixon disputed those numbers.

Final approval of the measure came Tuesday, May 9, when the Senate accepted without a dissenting vote the House version of the bill.