New Missouri law allows some Medicaid recipients to keep more in savings

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri seniors, the blind and those with disabilities soon will be able to save more money but still qualify for Medicaid health care benefits under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The idea behind the bill, which passed with bipartisan support in the GOP-led legislature, is to allow people who receive health care through the state program to keep more in savings that could help pay for unexpected expenses. Nixon said the new law will help “thousands of Missourians live more independent lives.”

The current asset limits — $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for married couples — are so low that recipients can’t prepare for emergencies, according to Aimee Wehmeier, president and CEO of the disability advocacy nonprofit Paraquad.

“Essentially, we had to choose between saving money and accessing necessary disability-related supports and services,” Wehmeier said in a statement. “In the past, being fiscally responsible and saving money meant losing Medicaid benefits, including health care, personal care services and reimbursements for durable medical equipment. Without these vital services, we would not be able to work or live independently.”

Starting in July 2017, individuals who receive the state and federally funded assistance will be able to keep $2,000, and

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