MO HealthNet, the Missouri Medicaid program, covers qualified medical expenses for those who meet eligibility requirements such as being blind, disabled or over age 65 and do not exceed certain income and resource limits.

Generally, for disabled and elderly claimants to be eligible for the program in 2016, monthly income may not exceed $842 for an individual or $1,135 for a couple, and resources (checking/savings accounts, CDs, mutual funds, real estate other than a primary residence, etc.) may not exceed $999.99 for an individual or $2,000 for a couple. The income limits are adjusted each year, but the resource limits have not changed since 1967.

However, Missouri recently passed House Bill 1565, which provides for an increase in the resource limit to $2,000 for an individual and $4,000 for a couple beginning in 2018. HB 1565 also provides for the resource limits for individuals and couples to increase by $1,000 and $2,000, respectively, in each of the following three years, and for there to be a cost of living adjustment to such resource limits in all successive years.

This will put the Missouri Medicaid resource limits more in line with the resource limits for Medicaid programs in other states, as well as the resource limits for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides assistance to people with limited income and resources who are blind, disabled or over age 65 to help them meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

In light of the changes and the need for certain individuals to receive such benefits, care should be taken in estate planning that involves people with special needs to ensure that no gifts are made to them that would disqualify them from the assistance programs.