- Special Needs Alliance - https://www.specialneedsalliance.org -

How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect SNTs?

Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq. [1], Florham Park, New Jersey

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a hybrid system comprised of Medicaid and state-based insurance exchanges seeks to extend health coverage to all Americans. How will this shape the life care plans that families establish for loved ones with disabilities? Will special needs trusts (SNTs) continue to provide the foundation for their financial security?

Anyone who will continue to rely, to any extent, on means-tested government programs such as Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), as well as those without the requisite capacity to make their own financial decisions, will still benefit from the creation of an SNT. But for many families, the choice of Medicaid versus private insurance will not be intuitive. The major considerations include:

Analyzing these tradeoffs and understanding how to navigate the new health care system may give rise to a new cottage industry. In some cases, special needs attorneys offering a holistic approach to life planning may expand their services to include such advice. In any case, many families will continue to rely upon SNTs to ensure that loved ones have access to valuable government services without becoming impoverished.

For more details concerning the ACA, see “The Affordable Care Act – An Update [2]” in SNA’s Capitol Connection.